x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Drug that caused Michael Jackson overdose death is now used in Missouri executions

The anesthetic propofol is causing a stir among critics who say the US state cannot guarantee a drug untested for lethal injection will not cause pain and suffering for the condemned.

ST LOUIS, UNITED STATES // The anesthetic that caused the overdose death of pop star Michael Jackson is now the drug for executions in the state of Missouri.

That is causing a stir among critics who say the state cannot guarantee a drug untested for lethal injection will not cause pain and suffering for the condemned.

The Missouri Department of Corrections is switching from its long-standing three-drug method to a single drug, propofol, which has never been used in an execution in the US.

Until recently, the 33 states with the death penalty used a virtually identical process: Sodium thiopental was administered to put the inmate to sleep, and then two other drugs stopped the heart and lungs.

After the makers of sodium thiopental stopped selling it for use in executions, supplies ran out and states began seeking alternatives.