European companies cut off US supply of death penalty drugs




Is it that they are protesting the use of the drugs, or that they are legally prevented from selling it for use in death penalties, as per national or EU-wide laws prohibiting the practice? I was previously under the impression that it's against the law for them to sell the drugs for this purpose, which I think is important to report on, as it drives home the point even more than many "peer nations" completely ban the practice.


In light of what happened in Ohio, "states will now have more of a burden to show that they are using a well-thought-out best practice," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which doesn't take a stand for or against capital punishment.

  1. By not taking a position one stands with the status quo by default
  2. If your foundation that signs your paystubs has the words "Death Penalty" in the title ... and you are discussing "best practice" for the state to kill a person ... you have taken a side.


Reading the comments at the end of this article is a real eye-opener. Wow. Nothing like a debate about the death penalty and/or cruel & unusual punishment to make some Americans just completely fly off the handle!


Averse as I am to the death penalty per se, is there any technical reason why a huge dose of, say, diamorphine, or fentanyl couldn't be used? Other than ridiculous puritanism about teh eeebil drugz?


There's a wide variation in metabolism of a lot of drugs. If they can't accurately predict the effects of a particular drug, they shy away from it.

Pure nitrogen gas on the other hand solves a lot of the problems. No needles, easy to source and administer, very predictable effects, no discomfort.. Which is why it is dangerous in industrial situations. If the objective is to execute rather than to execute using drugs, alternatives exist.


Aye, but surely, say, 200mg of fentanyl is gonna kill pretty much anyone? I know folks have died smoking the damn stuff...


I have to agree, why are we so tied to fancy mixes of drugs, why not hypoxia (nitrogen) or opiates, or heck, setting them on 10kg of TNT? wink Also, I don't think you would need medical people to be involved with the hypoxia option, and certainly not with the TNT option.

Not that I trust the state to execute people, but I really don't see why they have to make the actual process so tricky.


I want to preface this by saying that I am 100 percent opposed to the death penalty. It's fucking barbaric and embarrassing that we still do it.
My question for anyone that understands the biology more than I do, though, is what are the differences between what is used with animals in a vet and what is used with a person?
I've sat with all my dogs that have had to be put to rest, and they just closed their eyes and that was it. Their heart stopped in seconds after the shot.


Yes, there is an EU-wide export ban.

Here is the relevant regulation (PDF):


Thought so, thanks Karl. I've seen mainstream new reporting on this issue over the past few days, and none of it has mentioned the outright ban. All the articles make it sound voluntary. I think it's important to note the EU law, which is more impactful IMHO than making it seem like some hippy-dippy companies feel squeamish about the issue, and have voluntarily decided to not sell prisons the chemicals.


Bullets and rope are pretty cheap.


A massive shot of medical-grade heroin could be a fairly pleasant way to go.


Using the wrong drugs can prevent the soul of the condemned from reaching Gehenna. The incantations are also important, but I understand they are never made public for any reason.


Good. End this barbaric practice through default, if that's what it takes. You'd think supporters of a "justice" system so laser focused on retribution and vengeance would prefer a convict to ruminate on his/her crime for the maximum possible amount of time instead of dispatching him/her.


Here's a thought (coming from one who is on the fence about state-sanctioned executions): Option 1) a .45 slug, well placed into the back of the head, as Mister44 mentions, will handle pretty much anyone except the densest of skulls (Wolverine comes to mind, as does Michelle Bachmann). The cost is next to nothing, it's fast, and there ain't no coming back.
2) Life imprisonment without parole. Isn't this really a death sentence with an extraordinarily huge cost to society? The convicted murderer will now occupy a jail cell for (possibly) a long, long time, requiring hefty expenses for food, clothing, electricity, and security (and a host of other costs related to keeping a person imprisoned). Seems to me that life imprisonment is still execution, albeit in a slower and vastly more expensive fashion.
I don't mean to sound bloodlust-y but that logic has always troubled me.


Life Imprisonment in the USA is CHEAPER than the death penalty. Why? Because the death penalty requires lots more required reviews, including the state and/or federal courts.


Yet another reason to reconsider our infatuation with the death penalty:

In hospitals, pentobarbital remains an important medication, used to keep critically ill neurological patients from dying or expanding brain damage. Look up treatment for status epilepticus. Patients dying or suffering grievous, life-altering brain injury because of a shortage of this medication* would be really pathetic.

*(Yes, there are other treatment options available, but there have been many cases where pentobarbital is the only thing that reliably halts seizure activity. Propofol is often used of late, but it has very real and important limitations.)


Bullets are actually fairly unpredictable. People have been point blank shot in the forehead and had the bullet change direction such that it curved around along the inside of the skull and exited out the side. It’s unusual, but it happens. Shotguns are no sure thing either; recall, for instance, the kid who survived a Judas Priest “inspired” suicide pact. (The documentary, Dream Deceivers, is on Youtube.)

Besides, part of the meta-theater around death penalty executions is the veneer of “civilization.” Sure, we could draw & quarter the condemned or burn them at the stake or behead them, but that would puncture the illusion that we’re fundamentally on a more elevated moral level than Torquemada or Joffrey Baratheon.


So let me get this straight.

People who are against the death penalty by lethal injection restrict the supply of drugs that are shown to do it in a quick, efficient, and, as far as can be told, painless way.

Then these same people point out that using other drugs that are still available for lethal injections aren't as quick, efficient, or painless as the drugs they restrict.

Finally, they use the slow, inefficient, and painful process as a reason to oppose the death penalty.

Seems... Circular.