DEA Seizes Georgia's Execution Drug
Sodium thiopental may have been acquired improperly
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2011 2:12 PM CDT
This Oct. 24, 2001 file photo shows the death chamber at the state prison in Jackson, Ga.   (AP Photo/Ric Feld, File)

(Newser) – The DEA has seized Georgia’s supply of sodium thiopental, one of the key drugs used to execute prisoners, because it believes the state may have improperly imported it. Like many states, Georgia was forced to import the drug from England last year thanks to a shortage in the US, the Wall Street Journal explains. “Questions came to light with how the substance was imported,” one DEA agent said, but wouldn’t elaborate further.

A lawyer representing a death row inmate had complained that Georgia hadn’t registered as an importer of a controlled substance. “Illegally imported thiopental may be adulterated, counterfeit, or otherwise ineffective in providing adequate sedation,” he wrote. Thiopental shortages aren’t likely to go away anytime soon, with the only US producer calling it quits. Texas today announced that it would be switching over to pentobarbital, a sedative often used to euthanize animals, according to the AP. For more background, click here.