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Federal Government Warns Ohio Against Importing Execution Drugs

The federal government is warning Ohio not to try to bring in drugs from other countries to carry out executions.

Ohio temporarily stopped executions and switched back to the single drug sodium thiopental for future ones after the January 2014 death of Dennis McGuire, who was injected with a two drug combination and appeared to gasp and choke during his execution, the longest on record in Ohio. Sodium thiopental is in short supply in the country, so last year the state applied for a license to import it.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent a letter to prisons director Gary Mohr, saying sodium thiopental has not been approved by the agency, and that it’s illegal to import an unapproved drug into the U.S. A prisons department spokesperson says the agency “continues to seek all legal means to obtain drugs necessary to carry out court ordered executions.”

Ohio’s next execution is set for January.


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