Soon, the US will no longer be able to execute criminals using thiopental sodium from the UK. The UK government will issue an order requiring suppliers of the anesthetic to obtain a license before exporting to the US—and if there is a risk it will be used in executions, that license will be denied, a spokesperson tells the Wall Street Journal. The only US supplier of the drug is experiencing a shortage, causing states to scramble—Oklahoma recently got approval to use an animal euthanasia drug on humans.
The move comes after condemned Tennessee inmate Edmund Zagorski filed a lawsuit in the UK’s High Court asking the country to ban the export of the drug; Tennessee allegedly ordered the thiopental to be used on Zagorski from a foreign source. Other states, including California and Arizona, are presumed to have ordered supplies of the drug from overseas. The UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said in a court filing that the decision is meant "to underline the United Kingdom's moral opposition to the death penalty."