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DEA in the Thiopental Kerfuffle

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The Drug Enforcement Administration has apparently stepped into the controversy over importation of the sodium thiopental used in executions, seizing Georgia's supply.  Bill Rankin and Kristi Swartz have this story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  AP has this story.

Over at the Food and Drug Administration, more rational heads have prevailed.  That agency has recognized that the use of drugs for execution does not implicate the purposes of Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and does not come under its jurisdiction.  Under that act, the FDA regulates drugs to ensure they are "safe and effective" for medical use.  For lethal injection, "safe" and "effective" are mutually exclusive.

Hopefully, higher ups at DEA will countermand this order.  If not, the appropriate House committee should summon DEA officials to explain in an oversight hearing.

As the AP story notes, the legal issues have already been considered by the courts in the Hammond execution.  If there is any question about the purity of the drug, a simple laboratory analysis will resolve them.

In any case, this is one more reason to switch drugs as soon as possible.

2 Comments

Why not switch to use of the firing squad as an alternate method whenever lethal injection can't be carried out? The never-ending, whack-a-mole lethal-injection litigation has gotten completely out of hand.

On that score, what in tarnation is going on with the federal lethal-injection suit? It's been in District Court since 2006. Plenty of federal death-row inmates have otherwise exhausted their appeals. Bill, you're an ex-AUSA, maybe you know.

Also, apropos the issue of a sodium thiopental "shortage", one thing has recently left me quite perplexed in this debacle: hasn't Nebraska obtained enough of the drug from an Indian company to carry out 166 executions? http://journalstar.com/news/unicameral/article_86251a06-0d0c-53c6-9b4d-7d4cf1665f54.html

This being the case, why can't other states (and the federal government) go ahead and get all the sodium thiopental they need from the same company?

LOL, with the firing squad the ATFE will then seize the firearms, not sporting purpose. LOL. But seriously this is just part of the Obama war on the death penalty.

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