Fentanyl Will Be Used in Upcoming Nevada Execution

Along with two other drugs in an un-tested combination
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2017 3:33 PM CDT
Updated Sep 3, 2017 3:10 PM CDT
Fentanyl Will Be Used in Upcoming Nevada Execution
Scott Dozier   (Nevada Department of Corrections via AP)

"This is not actually science," anesthesiologist Joel Zivot tells the Marshall Project. "It’s not actually medicine. It is a grotesque impersonation of those things." Nevada officials announced in August the state will be carrying out an execution—its first in more than a decade—with a combination of drugs experts say has never been tried before, Vice reports. While Nevada hasn't released many details on its planned execution of convicted murderer Scott Dozier, it has said it will use fentanyl, diazepam, and cisatracurium. According to the AP, Nevada, like other states, is having a hard time getting tried-and-true execution drugs. But it already has supplies of the three drugs listed above.

Medical experts and anti-death penalty activists are questioning Nevada's choice of drugs. Using both fentanyl—currently at the center of America's opioid crisis—and diazepam—better known as Valium—would appear to be redundant, a professor of emergency medicine says. And cisatracurium—a paralytic that has been known to cause a suffocating sensation—could "mask any signs of pain and suffering" should something go wrong, adds a attorney fighting the death penalty. In fact, the American College of Veterinarians forbids the use of paralytics like cisatracurium when animals are euthanized. Nevada is likely to face a legal challenge ahead of Dozier's scheduled Nov. 13 execution. For his part, Dozier says he would prefer a firing squad but isn't concerned about having "a real miserable experience." (More execution drugs stories.)

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