mostlycloudy
Sunday February 14th, 2016 7:45AM

Ohio announces alternative lethal injection drug

By The Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Ohio prison officials said Friday they are keeping their primary lethal injection drug in place despite the state's supply expiring, but they've added a second drug option for executioners to address the shortage.

Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said the powerful sedative pentobarbital will remain Ohio's primary method of administering the death penalty. A policy posted to the prisons department's website listed a combination of midazolam and hydromorphone as an alternative if sufficient pentobarbital isn't available or if the existing supply ``is deemed unusable'' by the medical team.

The agency's announcement came just days after its last supplies of pentobarbital expired. The last dose before the expiration was used to put condemned killer Harry Mitts to death Sept. 15 for shooting two people, including a suburban Cleveland police officer.

The alternative drug regimen was included in a revised overall capital punishment policy released by the state.

A federal judge had already indicated he'll review the new execution process. If he allows the state to go ahead, it was not immediately clear whether the state would use pentobarbital that exceeds its expiration date or the new alternative drug combination in the November execution of Ronald Phillips, sentenced to die for raping and killing his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in Akron in 1993. Prisons chief Gary Mohr said on the day of Mitts' execution that the state wouldn't necessarily need to replace pentobarbital.

The drug's original manufacturer, Denmark-based Lundbeck Inc., said in 2011 that it was putting the drug off-limits for executions. It required that prohibition remain when it sold the product to Lake Forest, Ill.-based Akorn Inc.

As a result, supplies had dried up in Ohio and around the country.

Friday's announcement is the third time the state has made a change related to the drug it uses in lethal injection.

In 2009, Ohio switched to a single dose of sodium thiopental. In 2011, it switched to pentobarbital when the manufacturer of sodium thiopental also restricted its distribution.

Among other states struggling to find alternatives are Georgia, Missouri and Arkansas. A legal challenge has placed Missouri's proposal to use propofol on hold, and anesthesiologists are asking the state to reconsider out of fear it could lead to restrictions of the drug needed for hospital use.

Arkansas' governor has held off scheduling executions as the state's Department of Correction plans to rewrite its lethal injection procedure to include a different drug or drugs and as prisoners continue to challenge the state's new execution law in court.

In Georgia, after the state's supply of pentobarbital expired in March, it acquired the drug from a compounding pharmacy. A lawsuit is challenging the state's decision to shield the pharmacy and contends the drug could be unsafe.

Ohio also has a backup method involving two drugs injected into muscles. That method has never been used.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 2 years ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 2 years ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
U.S, Cuba to resume commercial flights for 1st time in 50 years
The United States and Cuba will sign an agreement next week to resume commercial air traffic for the first time in five decades, starting the clock on dozens of new flights operating daily by next fall, U.S. officials said Friday.
By The Associated Press
9:35PM ( 1 day ago )
New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain are emerging
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect preg...
6:22PM ( 3 days ago )
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 5 days ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 1 week ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 1 week ago )