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States to try new ways of executing prisoners. Their latest idea? Opioids.

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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country’s first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.
States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.
The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this s…

Connecticut death row inmates remain in legal limbo despite ruling

WETHERSFIELD -- Conditions on Connecticut’s death row remain unchanged more than four months after the Connecticut Supreme Court found the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.

But Correction Commissioner Scott Semple said he is working to change a policy that requires those inmates to be in restraints any time they leave their cells.

Defense attorneys predicted after the August ruling that the 11 inmates currently housed on death row at Northern Correctional Institution would be reclassified and join the general prison population.

But prosecutors are hoping to overturn the Supreme Court ruling when they argue another death-penalty appeal in January.

Semple says until the legal issues are resolved, the inmates will remain where they are.

Source: The Associated Press, December 26, 2015

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