Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Could obstacles to lethal injection lead to an end to the death penalty? ​​

Date:
February 13, 2014
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Access to required anesthetic agents for a lethal injection is quickly disappearing, leaving the future of the death penalty in the United States in question. “Because the European Union opposes the death penalty, it prohibits the export of goods for executions [and] requires a time-consuming preauthorization review for every shipment of a potential ‘dual use’ pharmaceutical,” says a biomedical ethics expert and professor of law and medicine.

Access to required anesthetic agents for a lethal injection is quickly disappearing, leaving the future of the death penalty in the United States in question.

“Because the European Union opposes the death penalty, it prohibits the export of goods for executions [and] requires a time-consuming preauthorization review for every shipment of a potential ‘dual use’ pharmaceutical,” says Rebecca Dresser, JD, biomedical ethics expert and professor of law and medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.

This blockage makes it particularly difficult for states that use the death penalty to obtain anesthetic agents required in the three-drug protocol for lethal injections. This protocol involves an anesthetic to induce unconsciousness, a paralytic to induce a sustained paralysis of muscles and potassium chloride to stop the heart. Without the anesthetic, the injection would cause extreme and prolonged pain that could violate the Eighth Amendment’s probation against cruel and unusual punishment.

Dresser discusses the impact of the limited access to lethal injection drugs in a recent issue of The Hastings Center Report.

“Although the death penalty still has significant support, public support for alternatives to the death penalty is increasing,” Dresser writes.

“Capital cases are expensive, and state budgets are tight. High costs and concern about erroneous convictions have led a few states to abolish the death penalty in recent years. Barriers to obtaining lethal injection drugs could lead more states to do away with the death penalty altogether.”

Missouri is a prime example of a state dealing with limited access to lethal injection drugs. The state recently scrapped a plan to execute a murderer using propofol as the anesthetic after receiving significant pressure from drug companies. And the state’s Attorney General has proposed restoring the state’s gas chamber to bypass the hassles associated with lethal injection.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rebecca Dresser. Drugs and the Death Penalty. Hastings Center Report, January-February 2014 DOI: 10.1002/hast.247

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Could obstacles to lethal injection lead to an end to the death penalty? ​​." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213083451.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2014, February 13). Could obstacles to lethal injection lead to an end to the death penalty? ​​. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213083451.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Could obstacles to lethal injection lead to an end to the death penalty? ​​." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213083451.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins