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Show Me State showdown

Owen Canfield Published: August 16, 2013

The state of Missouri has two executions scheduled this fall, one in October and the other in November. Missouri has carried out just two executions since 2005, but an issue clouding the two upcoming executions is the drug to be used.

It’s propofol, an anesthetic best known as the drug pop star Michael Jackson overdosed on in 2009. No other state has used propofol in an execution.

Missouri’s supreme court gave its blessing this week to do so, but opponents say the condemned inmates could suffer if the drug is improperly administered. Another problem: Propofol is manufactured in Europe, where anti-death penalty sentiments are strong. Its use in an execution could result in the banning of exports to the United States — which would affect countless patients here.

Don’t bank on either one of these executions taking place as planned.



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