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European opposition to death penalty behind chronic US execution dilemma

BRUSSELS - There's one big reason why the United States has a dearth of execution drugs so acute that some states are considering solutions such as firing squads and gas chambers: Europe's fierce hostility to capital punishment.

S. Korean actresses convicted of propofol abuse

Three South Korean actresses have been handed suspended jail terms for abusing propofol, a short-acting sedative and anaesthetic blamed in the death of US pop icon Michael Jackson, a court official said Tuesday. Park Si-Yeon, Lee Seung-Yeon and Jang Mi-In-Ae were charged in March with taking the prescription drug for "non-medical purposes." All three were found guilty by the Seoul Central District Court on Monday and received eight-month prison terms -- suspended for two years, the court spokesman told AFP.

TV actresses get suspended jail terms for drug abuse

SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- Three female celebrities, including top TV actress Park Si-yeon, received suspended prison terms Monday for illegally taking the psychotropic drug propofol. The Seoul Central District Court sentenced Park and two others -- Jang Mi-inae and Lee Seung-yeun -- to eights months in prison, suspended for two years, for taking the prescription drug for reasons other than its intended purpose.

Ohio to use execution drugs combination never tried in U.S

By Kim Palmer CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Ohio said on Monday that it does not have enough of the drug pentobarbital to carry out a scheduled execution next month and will turn to a combination of two drugs that a death-penalty expert said has never been used before in the United States.

Missouri joins U.S. states getting execution drugs from new suppliers

By Carey Gillam KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A "compounding pharmacy" will supply lethal injection drugs for future executions in Missouri, the latest U.S. state to turn to the lightly regulated sector after major pharmaceutical companies refused to sell drugs for executions, the state said on Tuesday. The Missouri Department of Corrections said in a brief statement that it would switch to using a single drug for executions, pentobarbital. Missouri had used a three drug protocol until recently.

Florida executes man with new lethal injection drug

By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - Florida prison officials on Tuesday carried out what they described as the first execution in the United States using the sedative midazolam hydrochloride in a lethal injection. Midazolam was pumped into William Happ, 51, as the first of three drugs in a lethal injection cocktail designed to induce unconsciousness, paralysis and death by cardiac arrest, the Florida Department of Corrections said.

US state suspends lethal injections amid drug debate

The Midwestern US state of Missouri said Friday that it was suspending its next execution amid a controversy over the drug used for lethal injections. "I have directed the Department of Corrections that the execution of Allen Nicklasson, as set for October 23, will not proceed," Governor Jay Nixon said. Almost every state that practices the death penalty has adopted the barbiturate pentobarbital for lethal injections. But as supplies dwindle, states that practice capital punishment are turning to new drugs or new providers, though not without hiccups.

Missouri drops new execution drug after European opposition

By Kevin Murphy Kansas City, Missouri (Reuters) - Missouri on Friday abandoned plans to become the first U.S. state to use the anesthetic propofol in an execution after it drew strong opposition, especially in Europe, where 90 percent of the drug is manufactured. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a longtime death penalty supporter, announced that propofol would not be used in an execution scheduled for later this month, and directed state officials to find another lethal drug for future use.

German firm blocked shipments to U.S. distributor after drug sent for executions

By Kevin Murphy (Reuters) - A German manufacturer confirmed on Thursday that it took the extraordinary step of suspending shipments of a widely used drug to a U.S. distributor this year after 20 vials were mistakenly sent to the state of Missouri to be used in executions. Drugmaker Fresenius Kabi said shipments of the anesthetic propofol were halted to a Louisiana distributor for 4 1/2 months through mid-March because the company feared the European Union would ban export of the drug altogether if it was used in executions.

Missouri governor halts October execution over drug controversy

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said on Friday he was halting an execution set for October 23 that was supposed to be the first ever using the drug propofol and directed the state corrections department to find another form of lethal injection. Propofol is widely used as an anesthetic in hospitals and its potential use in executions has triggered strong opposition from the European Union, which opposes the death penalty. The union has threatened to cut off all exports of the drug if it is used for executions.
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