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The Journal Gazette

Friday, October 06, 2017 1:00 am

Records show Ohio has plenty of execution drugs

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio has been able to replenish part of its lethal drug supply in recent months, and could carry out nearly 20 additional executions under certain conditions, according to new records that were obtained by The Associated Press.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction took in new supplies of midazolam, a sedative administered first to condemned inmates, and potassium chloride, which stops prisoners' hearts, in December and January, several weeks after receiving previous supplies of the drugs, records show.

The records don't indicate whether the department received fresh supplies of the second drug in Ohio's method called rocuronium bromide, which paralyzes inmates.

But even relying on previous supplies, Ohio still has enough drugs for 18 more executions, according to drug logs which the AP obtained exclusively through an open records request.

Over the past decade, execution drug supplies nationally have dried up as manufacturers, under pressure from death penalty opponents, started putting them off limits for capital punishment. The shortage of drugs stopped executions in the state between January 2014 and July.

Getting any information about Ohio's execution drug supply has become increasingly difficult in recent years, thanks to a secrecy law that shields almost all details about the drugs, including their source and their expiration date. Death penalty supporters said the law – similar to laws in other states – was necessary to protect drugmakers from threats of violence if their role in capital punishment was made public.

The state won't say where it obtains its drugs.