KENTUCKY SWITCHING TO 1 DRUG EXECUTIONS
July 20, 2012: Kentucky will switch to 1 drug executions under a new set of regulations filed today, becoming the latest state to drop a 3-drug mixture for lethal injections.
The new regulations allow the state to use either 3 mg of the anesthetic sodium thiopental or 5 mg of pentobarbital, a short-acting barbiturate.
In making the move, Kentucky joins at least 7 other states that use 1 drug for lethal injections and attempts to comply with a judge's order requiring the switch or face a trial to defend the 3-drug method. Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd in April gave state officials until July 24 to propose any changes.
A public hearing on the execution proposal is scheduled for Sept. 25 in Frankfort. If the procedure is adopted, the state could begin lethal injections again later this year.
Shelley Catherine Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's office, said because the regulations aren't final, it would be premature to discuss any future action. The new regulations also allow the state to use 2 drugs β the anti-seizure medication midazolam, better known as Versed, and hydromorphone, an analgesic known commonly as Dilaudad β if the chemicals used in a single-drug execution are not available 7 days before a scheduled injection.
Prison officials will have to notify the inmate a week before the execution which method will be used.
Under the new rules, if the warden determines the inmate has not died from the 1st dose of the chemicals, successive injections may be ordered until the person dies. If the inmate doesn't die after 2 injections, the warden may order continuous injections of 60 mg of hydromorphone until death occurs.
The regulation covers a variety of details about how an execution is carried out, ranging from when an inmate is moved from death row to the holding cells where the execution chamber is housed to who pronounces the inmate dead and how.
The regulations place the cost of carrying out a single execution at $81,438 β with the bills split between the Kentucky Department of Corrections, the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, the Kentucky National Guard and smaller agencies. (Source: Associated Press, 20/07/2012)