Feds Say Ohio Plan To Import Execution Drugs Is Illegal

Aug 20, 2015

The feds are warning Ohio not to try to bring in drugs from other countries to carry out executions.

Ohio temporarily stopped executions and switched back to the single drug sodium thiopental for future ones after the January 2014 death of Dennis McGuire. He was injected with a two drug combination and appeared to gasp and choke during his execution, the longest on record in Ohio.

Sodium thiopental is in short supply in the US, so last year the state applied for a license to import it.

But the US Food and Drug Administration has sent a letter to prisons director Gary Mohr, saying sodium thiopental has not been approved by the agency, and that it’s illegal to import an unapproved drug into the US.

A prisons department spokesperson says the agency “continues to seek all legal means to obtain drugs necessary to carry out court ordered executions.” Ohio’s next execution is set for January.