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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…

Mississippi Senate passes Execution Secrecy Bill

In the future a Mississippi death row inmate's execution and all those involved in the process could be kept from the public.

Senate Bill 2237, introduced by Republican Senator Joey Fillingane, passed Tuesday.

Entitled the "Execution Secrecy Bill", the measure would protect the identities of the execution team, suppliers of the lethal injection drugs and others involved in the execution process.

State Attorney General Jim Hood helped draft the legislation.

He said in reaction to anti-death penalty advocates who have threatened and harassed the companies providing the lethal injections and even the executioner.

"As long as it's the law in Mississippi I've got a duty to carry it out and if there's a method by which I can carry it out without people getting abused; the executioner, the pharmacy that provides the drugs, I think we owe them that protection. It's a state law," said Hood.

Opponents of the Execution Secrecy legislation say the public would not be made aware of the execution process which could possibly be inhumane and not divulge where the drugs were from, how they are administered or their reactions.

We were unable to reach Senator Fillingane and Prisoner Rights Advocates for comment on the execution secrecy bill.

Similar bills have been passed in recent years in Arkansas and Georgia.

Source: WDAM news, Feb. 18, 2016

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