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More questions than answers surrounding Indiana’s new execution drug

More questions than answers surrounding Indiana’s new execution drug

More questions than answers surrounding Indiana’s new execution drug

Courtesy of DPIC Facebook page

INDIANAPOLIS – After state officials announced last week that Indiana will resume executions for the first time in a decade, secrecy surrounds the new drug, pentobarbital, purchased for the impending lethal injections.

The single-drug method is a departure from the state protocol used since 1995, which uses three chemicals.

Although pentobarbital has not been used in any statewide executions in Indiana, 13 federal executions have been carried out using the drug at the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex. Pentobarbital has also been used in executions in fourteen states.

However, both state and federal officials have been tight-lipped about where the pentobarbital came from and how much it costs. It’s also unclear how much Indiana has purchased and when current doses expire.

Robin Maher, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that tracks state and federal executions, said it’s also critical for the public to know who will administer the drug and how, as well as what training those people will receive.

DPIC’s Maher told the Indiana Capital Chronicle: “This is an official government function, and in a democracy, we value honesty and transparency in our government officials and their actions. Indiana voters deserve to know what their government is doing in their name.”

The state of Indiana has carried out 20 executions since 1981, the first three by electrocution. The rest have been carried out by lethal injection, which is currently the only method allowed by state law.

The Indiana Code does not specify which drugs must be used for executions, only saying that the drugs must be injected intravenously in a quantity and for a period of time sufficient to kill the inmate.

Read more of Casey Smith’s story for the Indiana Capital Chronicle here.