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Longest execution: Drugs banned by makers for executions result in Ohio debacle

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The longest execution in Ohio is something that other states may soon face as the drugs traditionally used for executions won't be sold by their makers for the use in an execution. This is in protest of the death penalty. This leaves Ohio and soon possibly other states looking for a lethal injection drug, or cocktail of drugs, that work in putting someone to death without the suffering seen in Ohio's latest execution.

The longest execution in Ohio’s history since bringing back the death penalty to that state has implications for all states today. The recent Ohio execution of Dennis McGuire, which was described as “torture” by witnesses, brings into the spotlight the ability of states being able to carry-out the death penalty in a constitutional manner, according to ABC News on Jan. 17.

The inmate was given an untested lethal injection of a drug cocktail and it resulted in 25 minutes of gasping for air, snorting and being in a state of obvious distress. The adult children of Dennis McGuire are horrified that their father was pumped full of chemicals and struggled for close to a half hour before he took his last breath.

It is unclear if he was in any pain, but experts say what he went through would have put him in a state of terror, making the claims of “cruel and unusual punishment” sound about right. This isn’t about making a convicted death penalty inmate suffer, it is about putting the inmate to death. In this case it appeared that both had occurred.

States are in a bind because they have run out of the traditional chemical they use to bring on death in an execution. The Italian company that manufactures a chemical called thiopental refuses to sell it to the company based out of Illinois, Hospira, because they couldn’t promise not to sell it to the prison systems in America. This is in a protest against the death penalty.

Then the prison systems went to the drug pentobarbital, but the Danish makers of the drug also refused to sell the drug to be used in executions, once again this was another protest of the death penalty.

Now states need to find a way to carry out these lethal-injection executions with a drug or a mixture of drugs that won’t render the subject in a state of terror and gasping for air for what must seem like an eternity to the inmate this is happening to.

It is hard to believe that with the thousands of drug overdoses in this country every day that the authorities cannot come up with a drug that just puts the subject to sleep, never to wake up. This would be a peaceful death in comparison to the suffering the Ohio inmate endured. Maybe it is time to rethink the death penalty?



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