"Texas won’t switch execution drug but won’t say how it’s being obtained," also filed by Michael Graczyk of Associated Press, via the Washington Post. It's also available via the Austin American-Statesman.
The nation’s most active death penalty state says it won’t change its execution drug, but won’t say how it will replace its supply that expires this month.
“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 on Thursday, shortly before the state carried out its 12th execution this year. 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. 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.
In the past two years, pentobarbital has been used alone or in concert with other drugs in all executions in the U.S.
Some death penalty states, including Georgia, have said they’re turning to compounding pharmacies for pentobarbital. Such pharmacies make customized drugs not scrutinized by the Federal Drug Administration. It’s hard to tell exactly how many states have used or are planning to use compounding pharmacies for execution drugs because states frequently resist disclosing the source of the drugs.
As of May 2012, Texas had 46 of the 2.5-gram vials of pentobarbital — presumably enough to execute as many as 23 prisoners, since each execution requires a 5-gram dose. The execution Thursday of Robert Gene Garza, convicted of being involved in the fatal ambush shootings of four women in the Rio Grande Valley, was the 21st lethal injection since that disclosure.