Executions are set to resume in Ohio next year, but state officials are still having trouble finding someone willing to sell them lethal-injection drugs, according to the state's prisons director.
"We have had difficulty finding and acquiring drugs, period," said Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Mohr, speaking Wednesday with Plain Dealer and Northeast Ohio Media Group editors and reporters, declined to give specifics about where the state is looking to buy supplies of sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, the 2 lethal-injection drugs allowed under Ohio's new execution protocol.
But Mohr confirmed that his agency has obtained an import license from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to buy execution drugs from overseas.
State legislators passed an execution secrecy law late last year in hopes that it would persuade small-scale drug manufacturers called compounding pharmacies to sell Ohio sodium thiopental or pentobarbital. But the American Pharmacists Association, as well as many compounding pharmacists in Ohio, have voiced reluctance to make and sell execution drugs.
Like other death-penalty states, Ohio has struggled in recent years to find reliable sources of lethal-injection drugs, as European pharmaceutical companies have stopped sales on moral and legal grounds.
Ohio hasn't executed anyone since January 2014, when murderer Dennis McGuire took an unexpectedly long 25 minutes to die from a controversial 2-drug cocktail of midazolam and hydromorphone. Ohio subsequently dropped further use of those drugs.
Executions in the state are set to resume next January, starting with Akron killer Ronald Phillips, convicted of the 1993 rape and beating death of a 3-year-old girl.
Source: cleveland.com, July 9, 2015
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