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Texas prison system running out of execution drug

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — The nation's most active death penalty state is running out of its execution drug.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Thursday its remaining supply of pentobarbital expires in September and no alternatives have been found. It wasn't immediately clear whether two executions scheduled for next month would be delayed. The state has already executed 11 death-row inmates this year, and at least seven more executions are planned.

"We are exploring all options at this time," agency spokesman Jason Clark said.

Texas has put more people to death than any other state in the country by far, 503 since 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed executions to resume. That's more that four times as many as the next busiest death penalty state, Virginia, which has executed 110 inmates.

Along with other death penalty states, they have increasingly had difficulty obtaining lethal injection drugs as manufacturers, facing opposition from opponents of capital punishment, have limited production.

The Danish manufacturer of pentobarbital, Lundbeck, announced the drug is unsafe for use in lethal injections and restricted its sale for executions.

Texas prison system running out of execution drug 08/01/13 [Last modified: Thursday, August 1, 2013 10:55pm]
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