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Ohio Ends Two-Drug Lethal Injection Method

Ohio won’t be able to execute inmates until at least the spring, because the state is changing its execution drug combination again. The state is running out of the drugs it uses to put inmates to death.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s 40 vials of midazolam will expire April 1 and its 60 vials of hydromorphone will expire June 1. Corrections Director Gary Mohr says the state will no longer use that controversial two-drug mixture. It was used in last January’s lethal injection of Dennis McGuire, who appeared to gasp and choke during his 20-minute execution.

Ohio officials now plan to go back to a single-drug method and use either pentobarbital or thiopental sodium. The state has six executions scheduled this year, and prison officials say at least the first one – that of Ronald Phillips next month – will be rescheduled because there’s still a problem in finding these drugs. But a law passed last month to shield the names of pharmacies that make drugs for executions could help the state find a new supply.