HUNTSVILLE, Texas - Texas, the most active death penalty state in the U.S., will continue to use the same execution drug but won't say how it will replace its supply that expires this month, prison officials said Thursday.
"We have not changed our current execution protocol and have no immediate plans to do so," Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said in a statement to The Associated Press. He would not elaborate on how the state will obtain the drug.
Texas switched to a lethal, single dose of the sedative pentobarbital last year after one of the drugs used in its previous three-drug execution process became difficult to obtain and the state's supply expired. Pentobarbital has been used alone or in concert with other drugs in all executions in the U.S. the past two years.
Other death-penalty states have encountered similar problems after some drug suppliers barred the drugs' use for executions or have refused, under pressure from death-penalty opponents, to sell or manufacture drugs for use in executions.
Some death penalty states, most recently Georgia, have announced they're turning to compounding pharmacies, which make customized drugs not scrutinized by the Federal Drug Administration, to obtain a lethal drug for execution use.
Missouri is planning to use propofol, an anesthetic which gained infamy in the 2009 death of pop star Michael Jackson, as the lethal drug for scheduled executions of two convicted killers later this year.
Texas by far has executed more inmates than any other U.S. state since a Supreme Court ruling in 1976 allowed executions to resume. Since 1982, when Texas resumed carrying out capital punishment, the state has executed 503 inmates.
Another prisoner was executed Thursday evening.
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