Ohio Prison Officials Monitor Supply Of Executioner’s Drug.

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There’s a national shortage of the anesthetic Ohio uses to put condemned killers to death. But it’s unclear whether that will stop two executions on the calendar this year.

The drug is sodium phiopental. Most states use this drug in their execution cocktail. But, Ohio is one of two states that uses only that drug to put killers to death. The company that makes the drug, which says it does not support its use in executions, says it hopes to have more sodium phiopental on the market next year. Ohio prisons department spokesperson, Julie Walburn says security concerns do not allow her to talk about how much of the state has in its inventory.

“What I can say is that if the drug shortage does hit us we would have to consider at that time requesting a reprieve from the Governor for any execution than might be impacted by that.” Says Walburn.

The state does have a back-up method of execution. But, Walburn says that second method is only for when an inmate’s veins are bad, or if the inmate is thought to have a reaction to sodium phiopenthal. And, its not to be used if that drug is unavailable.

Karen Kasler Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau

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