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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…

Tennessee death row inmate William Stevens dies

Tennessee death row inmate William Stevens died Monday at the age of 60, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction.

He was pronounced dead at 1:57 a.m. Monday at a Nashville hospital of natural causes, according to a press release.

Stevens was convicted of especially aggravated robbery and two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in Davidson County in 1997.

Source: The Tennessean, April 5, 2016

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