The Arizona Republic reports, "Drug switch underscores Arizona's struggle with execution standards," by Michael Kiefer.
On Wednesday, the Arizona Department of Corrections announced that it will use a new cocktail of a Valium-like drug, Midazolam, with a morphine derivative, Hydromorphone, in coming executions.
It's the third time the state has been forced to change the protocol since 2010, because of international law, litigation by defense attorneys and agitation by anti-death-penalty activists. In reaction, pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. and Europe have blocked sales of drug after drug to state corrections departments in an effort to prevent their use for execution. The resultant drug shortages have curtailed executions all over the country.
Wednesday's announcement may be a stopgap for Arizona. One domestic manufacturer of the new drugs had already issued a statement that it would blocksales of the drugs for executions.
There is a Plan B. The Department of Corrections has added a provision to its execution that allows it to buy custom-made drugs from compounding pharmacies.
And according to a news release issued Wednesday by the Attorney General's Office, the state intends to use a statute protecting the identity of executioners to conceal the source of the drugs.
Earlier coverage of Arizona lethal injection issues begins at the link.