Feds seize Georgia's supply of lethal-injection drug
States that use lethal injection are in short supply of thiopental, one of the key drugs in the process.
March 16th, 2011
09:03 AM ET

Feds seize Georgia's supply of lethal-injection drug

Federal officials have seized Georgia's supply of a drug used in executions while they investigate whether it was imported legally, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

Spokespeople for the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Georgia Department of Corrections told the newspaper the state's supply of thiopental had been seized.

Thiopental is available only from international sources, since the drug's sole U.S. manufacturer, Hospira, stopped making the sedative in 2009. But the countries where the drug is made do not allow its export if it is going to be used for capital punishment, the Journal-Constitution reported.

Thirteen states wrote a letter to the Justice Department seeking help in obtaining the drug. Georgia was not among them.

Six death-row inmates have sued to prevent the Food and Drug Administration from importing thiopental, and last month one inmate's lawyer wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder to question how Georgia obtained its supply.

The letter from lawyer John Bentivoglio said the Georgia Department of Corrections is not registered to import drugs and accused the department of failing to submit a declaration to the DEA when it imported thiopental last year, the Journal-Constitution reported.

Corrections spokeswoman Kristen Stancil told the paper the department sought the DEA's help "to make sure that the department was in compliance with the way we handled controlled substances."

Georgia has no executions scheduled.

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Filed under: Drugs • Georgia • Justice
soundoff (332 Responses)
  1. Reynardine Greencastle

    Ah, in order to support law and order, we smuggle drugs so we can kill people. I see the logic.

    March 16, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Angel

      like, and agree

      March 16, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Mason

      The main reason this drug was confiscated is the DEA didn't get a cut or kick back on the drugs coming into this country. No money was exchanged or slipped into their greasy hands so they decided to confiscate.

      March 16, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • tripp

      The only thing I see wrong with the death penalty is that unless the perp is caught red handed, and even that could be setup by unscroupulous people, is that they could kill an innocent human. There are already in jail, wrongly convicted by incompatant prosecutors and cops who think they have the right person. Look at all the people being released with DNA testing now. People with no criminal record have been put in prison for 20+ years only to find out they were innocent. It could happen to you.

      March 16, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Truthwillsetyoufree

      Ya, that imported stuff could kill someone.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • DinWeez

      From a song I once heard: "why do we kill people to show that killing people is wrong?" As for DEA kickback, that's a stretch.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      So, in order to subvert an existing law that has been upheld numerous times in the Supreme Court, we can narrow how people are executed (i.e. only by injection w/ thiopental) and then we can limit availability of that drug effectively ending the death penalty with out any form of publice debate or judicial process. Liberal Democracy in action.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michaelk

      Joe, your inference chain is broken. States are not limited to thiopental for executions. There's still the ol' flash and flicker, the dangle and strangle as well as firing squads.
      I think the move to chemical execution was a move to help executioners. Some people still feel funny about killing other people hence the move toward a system that removes more personal involvement in the Process.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • asdf

      Yeah this end around by the anti death penalty people will only end badly. The rednecks will go back to electrocution or hanging. Once the Oxbow Incident crowd have it in their mind to kill someone its going to get done.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      "Six death row inmates have sued" and one of their lawyers wrote to Holder – need we say more? Is this one of the things the Repubs wanted to cut that the Dems didn't? Why don't we just let these inmates listen to NPR for the rest of their lives? Or is that considered cruel and unusual?

      March 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • asdf

      >Why don't we just let these inmates listen to NPR for the rest of their lives? Or is that considered cruel and unusual?

      Almost as bad as listening to Glen Beck whip the moron right wing sheeple into buying gold and building a bomb shelter because the world is going to end now we have a black president.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      ASDF – I'll bite, what exactly have you heard from Beck that prompts these comments? As an independent I see the repubs as seeing the Libs as dumb – and the libs see the Repubs as evil. I think both views are wrong.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Knight

      Thats the value of a nice strong peice of rope... you can reuse it over and over.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      BTW, Beck sells a product, NPR takes your money. If NPR is such a great thing what don't they just sell ads and stop taking money from people who do not agree with their views. And.. before you say anything about their views please remember this is where MSNBC got Maddow and Shultz. Not to mention that they themselves will tell you ALL of their on air folks and the majority of their employees (if not all) are "Progressives".

      March 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ojay vielot

      The post is very funny, and I agree.

      March 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      One more thing – when Beck started to tell people to invest in gold it was less than $500 per ounce – what is it now?

      March 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      John – Perhaps, but do they really push their views on the radio? Everyone involved in the news is going to have an opinion, but whenever I listen to NPR, they are monotone and appear to balance both sides of the issue. It just seems to me that if you take the Huffington Post and Fox News and go to the center, you'll come to NPR. Is it because they occasionally use big words?

      March 16, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • oboy

      Its very Big debate but the law doesn't follow the law. Even police issuing a ticket is not their duty to act on behalf administrative courts but they do as money tax scheme. people follow. The attorney was smart to raise the question.

      March 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • nemo007

      no, imbecile. We obtain the drug by any means to execute criminal garbage....

      March 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric g

      stop killing people

      March 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wert

      Right. Let's go back to hanging. Then if they whine about the importation of hemp, we can use wire.

      March 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • G.

      This is a silly tactic. They could simply give the patient a large dose of insulin or potassium and they would die instantly and painlessly.

      March 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wert

      Aw, come on, you don't expect us to believe you understand logic.

      March 16, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • dutspup

      HELLO, doesnt the article say that the countries where the drug is produced do not allow its export if used for capital punishment? So is the Justice dept and the DEA commiting an international crime by getting the drug or at least approving the other states to obtain it? So why doesnt CNN look into exactly HOW these states are obtaining this stuff?

      March 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      Kevin, I am back. I needed to actually do some work. I guess if you are a lib, as I assume you are for two reasons, 1, you talk down to people and 2 NPR seems middle of the road to yow – how would you feel about having your money go to Rush or Fox? Thats how I feel about my money going to NPR – especially after being forced to listen to it while in school. One more thing, and I only go here when people talk down to others, I would match degrees with you any time. I watch, read and listen to everything I can and NPR is as left (progressive) as Rush and Fox are right (conservative).

      March 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. William

    There go the feds interferring with state business.

    March 16, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Bertina

      And states should do whatever they want? Ridiculous.

      March 16, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • geogaddi

      ...and there go the states, interfering in county business, and the counties are interfering in city business, and the cities are interfering in my neighborhood's business, and my neighborhood is interfering in my business, so therefore all of this means something, somehow...

      March 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      There go the states, ignoring federal law, and illegally buying drugs. 3 strikes and your out. Give Georgia the mandatory 10 years we give inner city kids for pot possession.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • EK

      It's not state business if it involves international and interstate commerce and especially if that commerce involves regulated and restricted substances. All of those fall under federal jurisdiction and always have.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hasher Iva

      EK is right, the federal government regulates international and inTERstate commerce. The states regulate inTRAstate. Just find another drug. Enough of anything will kill you, including oxygen and water.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      So far your the only one I agree with.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • asdf

      Yep states rights are great if its slavery, prayer in schools, or flying the confederate flag but not if its medical marijuana or euthanasia. We wouldn't want to be consistent or anything.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • abnguy

      Close on most points about states right except the medical marijuanna. It was the 5 liberal justices who prevented states use om MM.

      March 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gidgit

      You are so wrong. It was a 6-3 decision with no clear ideological lines. Even Scalia was in the majority and wrote a concurring opinion.

      March 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      The federal gov't seems to forget that it was formed by the states, and exists at the will of the states. If it keeps interfering in states' business and trampling on states' rights, don't be surprised if the states move to abolish the federal gov't altogether. People need to understand: the United States is just that: it's a loosely coupled group of independent states who have agreed to join forces. It is a very fragile union, and the only thing keeping that union together is the will of the individual states. Feds, keep trampling on states' rights, and see where it gets you.

      March 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Boater

    A bullet or noose does not need to be imported....

    March 16, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Pepou27

      Only a brain ... which seems to be missing in some people's head who are so keen on this awful practice.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JPCastel

      neither does stupidity, apparently...

      March 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • American Idiot

      So, just because someone advocates an alternative method of capital punishment, they are automatically stupid. You two must have been the anchors of your respective University debating teams.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boater

      Nahhh.. They are just a couple of holier-than-thou anti-death penalty people. I wonder if they'd feel the same if one of these murderers killed one of their loved ones.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry Morse

      Then maybe the US should outsource its prisoner killings to China. They lead the world in executions.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr Phil

      And most of the people executed in China are killed for the simple crime of speaking out against their "government." So that's a REALLY good example.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah

      The whole practice is barbaric and pointless. A. It costs more to execute someone than it does to keep them in prison for life B. it's obviously NOT a deterent. C. It makes us no better than the person who committed the crime D. We might be murdering an innocent person.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • maryann

      thiopental is used so the inmate will rapidly lose consciousness. you would think the death row inmates would appreciate georgia's efforts.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Executions and prisons are just plain stupid, if these animals want to behave badly, then we need to just dump them on an island, and let them fend for themselves. No food, no water, no medical, nothing, they have to do everything. Problem solved. I honostly can say, that these killers, are nobodies, I don't care what happens to them, what they do to each other, and what their families go through when they are executed. They chose their fate, most of ya believe in a heaven and hell, and that is fine, but I don't, this life is the only one we get, and that animal just took it. Murder is the absolute worst crime.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rodney King

      @ Brad, that's what Australia was supposed to be, but it's too nice there. Greenland is almost empty. Let's buy it from Denmark and use that.

      March 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      "Executions and prisons are just plain stupid, if these animals want to behave badly, then we need to just dump them on an island, and let them fend for themselves."

      The Brits tried this. They called it Australia

      March 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      @Blah "The whole practice is barbaric and pointless" You don’t have a clue! God forbid, should someone kills one of your babies I think your view would change!

      March 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. HelenHull102951

    Also, who does this gov think they are interfering with a states bussiness?? Oh yea, I forget that this is not a gov any longer; it's now a regime!!

    March 16, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce in PA

      Because it's federal law that's why.

      March 16, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      International and interstate commerce *are* the Federal government's jurisdiction... and always have been since the inception of this country. For someone who seems to think he is educated on matters of government, you seem awfully ignorant. Care to comment?

      March 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wert

      They refuse to enforce our immigration laws but, let some State use the wrong sedative in an execution and they're all over it.

      March 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. john

    Just shoot the basterds
    Oops im sorry then the feds would say they were being exposed to too much lead.
    Just hung the basterds
    Oops im sorrythen the tree hugers would say they were being strung up in an endangered tree
    Just empty the prisions like jimmy farter did

    March 16, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Mason

      Or the the excuse that Hemp was being used to make the rope.

      March 16, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • midwest

      John,
      Please learn how to spell.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Wow. So if an innocent man is killed, well, that is just too bad right?

      March 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • SGW

      @Todd – Generally, capitol punishment is only used in extreme cases out of fear that someone may have been wrongly convicted. Even when someone publicly commits a crime in plain view of the justice system, Georgia's courts still show mercy and issue life without parole sentences. The Brian Nichols' trial is a prime example. Look that one up.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michaelk

      Not acquainted with facts or reason, are you. Just a burning desire to attack what you cannot understand.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GeorgeVT

    @William – idiotic, since when is the DEA a state business? @Helen, Idiotic on too many levels to even comment further.. @ John... the STATES choose their method of killing, NOT the feds so if Georgia wants to go to a firing squad, they can without Federal oversight.. idiotic

    March 16, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. David

    Just switch to Pentobarbital, Ohio has and performed its first execution using the drug a short while ago with no difficulty. That's right folks! the drug you put Rover down with will work on humans as well. Simply Overdose them and away they go. We could even have Vetrenarians start administering the shots and save money.

    March 16, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Wert

      Good! That's a solution everyone can be happy with. Next asinine government action?

      March 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. American Idiot

    As a chemist, I'm pretty sure I can make a good supply in my kitchen. How much will they pay me per batch, I wonder?

    March 16, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Probably not enough to compensate for the jail time you'll do when caught. Question for you though. Will you manufacture it in the building next to your meth lab?

      March 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • American Idiot

      I was suggesting a purely legal enterprise, of course.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bruce in PA

    Because of the "political correctness" of the Italian legislature, who outlawed thiopentals export to the US, anesthesiologists can't get this drug either.

    March 16, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Muggsy3

    what is to say GA didnt have this supply B4 the US source stopped mfg'ing in 2009? What's the shelf-life?
    an I agree w/ the folks who suggest "rope or bullet" except then the ACLU and right-to-lifers would scream "inhumane." DAVID has the solution then. these death row inmates deserve to be put down as the dangerous threats to society they are. so sad that murderers' rights so completely overshadow the rights of the dead.

    March 16, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • SGW

      Actually, what happened was that one convict filed for a stay of execution presuming that the drug was expired. He won the stay of execution, but they kept digging until they came up with some dirt.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah

      Actually, you'd be wrong on that one: So called Right to Lifers LOVE the death penalty.
      They only like fetuses that don't belong to them.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. HelenHull102951

    Since when do these worthless wastes of human flesh have any rights at all, it is common knowledge that when you commit crimes of any type that person loses all rights.. These prisoners are getting the best of everything when our children and the good honest people are doing without in order that criminals get the best, there was a story on Fox News that said this gov pays the corrections dept ($18,000) per day for the up-keep of these useless prisoners while taking away from schools and education amoung other things to give these people the best of everything in life. It's no wonder that they repeat offend when realeased, life is better inside than outside!! There is something "WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE".. Don't you agree?? Please CNN alow this post!!

    March 16, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Pepou27

      Yes CNN is right to allow your post. To show that there is still a lot of education to do in this country regarding this awful practice which puts the United States in the same bag as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan and China.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      If our justice system is so infallable, then why are people being released after 20 years in prison?

      March 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • midwest

      Helen – either your recall of the cost per day to house a felon is faulty, or Fox News is throwing out its usual misinformation. The average daily cost to house a felon is approximately $40 to $50. It is nowhere near the $18,000 per day you listed. And the "government" you refer to is the STATE government, not the federal...so you can stop inferring it is somehow the fault of President Obama and his administration.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Actually, you have to be CONVICTED of a crime to be guilty. You have to be CONVICTED of a capitol offense before the State can take legally take your life. By your logic there are a lot of people who have been released lately on DNA evidence way after they've been CONVICTED who should have been dangling from the end of a rope. We're a nation of laws and we should follow the laws to the end if we're going to legally put someone to death. Otherwise those who are putting someone to death is nothing more than a murderer.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah

      Um. No, you don't lose all your rights. You recall that they read you your Miranda Rights when you are arrested? Prisoners STILL have rights. And I am laughing that you act as if prison is like Club Med or something. Are you serious? Do you know what goes on there?!

      March 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. peggy morgan

    We treat animals&Plants better than we do our own human beings in this world!I didn'T pay much attention as a teenager,But one thing a temp teacher has always stuck in my mind,Whenever we pass a new law(To Make things better for all)We lose more of our rights&Are becoming a more socialistic democracy everytime!

    March 16, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joe Fattal

    What a way to be executed, to be put to sleep. They ought to hang them or put them on the electric chair, I knowwe are not short of powe or rope.

    March 16, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Pepou27

      It is because people like get their kicks out of the death penalty that it should be abolished.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • American Idiot

      Why not do both? Strap them into the chair, put a noose on the neck, hooked up to a winch, throw a switch to put both into action at once – and why not a hail of gunfire at the same moment! Triple redundancy! You could sell tickets and give the proceeds to victims families.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pepou27

    Abolish the ugly, anachronistic death penalty and join the rest of the civilized world which did so many, many years ago.

    March 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Taukimada

    maybe they simply had a supply left because "Georgia has no executions scheduled"????

    duh

    March 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
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