Nevada plans to use a combination of drugs for an execution that has never been used and its effectiveness is unproven, an investigative Global News story reports.
Despite the growing opioid epidemic plaguing a large number of U.S. and Canadian communities, Nevada Department of Corrections wants to use fentanyl in an upcoming execution, the Aug. 31 story reported.
According to author Andrew Russell, “Scott Dozier, 46, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 14 for the 2002 murder of 22-year old Jeremiah Miller who was killed and dismembered. Dozier was already serving a 22-year sentence for the murder of Jasen Green, 27, whose body was also dismembered.
After years of using midazolam and hydromorphone as sedatives, pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer halted sale of its products to the Department of Corrections in 2016 in order to stop them from being used in executions, Russell reported.
After conferring with its chief medical officer, the correctional department’s director selected the combination of diazepam, fentanyl and cisatracurium, Russell reported.
Lethal injections typically involved a three-drug cocktail including a sedative to render the person unconscious, a muscle relaxant to paralyze them, followed by a fatal injection, according to Russell.
“This type of execution “is way out of step with our core values in this state”
“Fentanyl, an opioid that can be 100 times stronger than morphine, will be used in addition to diazepam, a sedative commonly known as Valium, and cisatracurium, which causes paralysis,” he explained.
This type of execution “is way out of step with our core values in this state,” said Tod Story, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada. “Nevadans deserve answers on exactly how the state plans to kill a prisoner in its custody.”
Each drug carries its own set of inherent risks when used in a multi-drug execution procedure. Those risks are magnified when we don’t know the source of the drug, the potency and purity of the drug, and circumstances in which it was manufactured, transported and stored,” said Robert Durham of the Death Penalty Information Center.
Durham further states, “These drugs share the problem with all the other drugs states have proposed to use in executions. None was designed to kill people.”
Experts and civil rights groups question the combination of these drugs because they have never been used before.
There is no recorded documentation of its effectiveness or the legality of its use, especially since the manufacturers of these drugs halted the sale of the product to the department, said Russell.