Ohio's Trouble: 24 Executions, No Drugs
State has just 4 months to line them up
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 5, 2015 5:02 PM CDT
In this 2007 file photo, a hearse carries the body of James Filiaggi from Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, following his execution.   (Scott Osborne)
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(Newser) – Ohio has four months to get the lethal drugs it needs to execute two-dozen condemned killers, the first of whom is scheduled to die Jan. 21. The state's last execution was performed in January 2014, when it tested a new two-drug execution method that left a condemned man gasping and snorting over a 26-minute procedure. After that, Ohio attempted to switch to different drugs for executions, but it hasn't been able to get its hands on them yet. This is a problem run into by a number of states as pharmaceutical companies are stopping production on such drugs or not allowing them to be used in executions. Ohio's most recent attempt to obtain drugs—importing non-FDA-approved versions from overseas—was blocked by the federal government.

Opponents of the death penalty say the state's inability to find the drugs it needs is a wakeup call to end capital punishment in Ohio, while others would simply like the state to find a different way to carry out executions, such as nitrogen gas. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is issuing the same statement it has been for months: "[The department] continues to seek all legal drugs necessary to carry out court-ordered executions." With the Jan. 21 execution date fast approaching, Gov. John Kasich says he still believes Ohio has time to find the drugs it needs.