There are reports that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has seized the State of Georgia’s supply of a drug used in lethal injections.
You know, the drug named “Sodium Thiopental” is part of a cocktail along with two other drugs that is administered during lethal injections in 34 states. However, the last U.S. manufacturer, Hospira, Inc. (NYSE: HSP), headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, has announced on January 25, 2011 to stopped the production this drug.
The drug was actually manufactured at a facility in Italy. However, due to a new law Italian authorities stated that they would only license the manufacture if it was used for medical purposes and not, crucially, for executions. Since the abolition of the death penalty has been lobbied by the EU since 2008, no other manufacturer has been found in Europe that is willing to supply it for use in conjunction with the death penalty – although it is produced for medical purposes.
Georgia’s stockpile came under scrutiny in February when John Bentivoglio, representing death row inmate Andrew Grant DeYoung, asked the Justice Department to launch an investigation into whether state corrections officials violated federal law by not registering with the DEA when it imported its supply of sodium thiopental.
“The United States has strict drug import rules for a reason: To ensure drugs used for legitimate purposes are not adulterated, counterfeit, or diverted into the illicit market,” Bentivoglio said.
“We commend the DEA for forcing the Department of Corrections to immediately cease using black market execution drugs,” said William Montross, an attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights