Nevada to execute inmate with fentanyl in U.S

Nevada to execute inmate with fentanyl in U.S

"Because Nevada is using a combination of drugs that no one has used before, there is a lot about its protocol that we don't know anything about", said Robert Dunham, death penalty center executive director.

If Dozier is put to death on Wednesday, it would be Nevada's first execution since 2006 and the 13th since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

The midazolam would be used to sedate Dozier before he is killed using fentanyl, a drug at the forefront of the USA opioid epidemic that was also allegedly obtained illicitly. Dozier has said repeatedly he wants to die.

Pharmaceutical companies have resisted the use of their drugs in executions for 10 years, citing both legal and ethical concerns.

If the execution had not been interrupted, Dozier would have been the first inmate in the United States to be executed by a lethal injection laced with fentanyl.

Alvogen also claims the prison obtained its midazolam illegally, "despite a clear and unambiguous prior warning" from the company that they could not acquire it from company or a third party.

The pharmaceutical company urged a judge to block the use of midazolam, saying the state of Nevada obtained the product through "subterfuge" for unapproved purposes.

"Past attempts by other states to use the medicine in lethal injections have been extremely controversial, and have led to widespread concern that prisoners have been exposed to cruel and unusual treatment. Nevada Department of Corrections to use our midazolam product in an execution, we are exploring all potential avenues, including legal recourse, to prevent the improper use of our product in this particular execution", Alvogen spokesman Halldór Kristmannsson said.

"While Alvogen takes no position on the death penalty itself, Alvogen's products were developed to save and improve patients' lives and their use in executions is fundamentally contrary to this objective", the company said in its complaint.

He said drugs ordered by the state prison system are regularly shipped to Las Vegas.

Alvogen said in a statement that it was pleased with the ruling and will continue to work through the legal system to ensure its products are not used in executions.

The sedative is expected to render Dozier unconscious before he is injected with the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, which has been blamed for overdoses nationwide but has not been used in an execution.

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"Life in prison isn't a life", the 47-year-old inmate told the Review-Journal.

Midazolam was substituted in May for expired prison stocks of diazepam, a similar sedative commonly known as Valium.

Even if, as has happened before with these experimental injections, the drug combination leaves him paralyzed yet still conscious, effectively suffocating him alive.

Nevada's new execution protocol also calls for the use of fentanyl to slow the inmate's breathing and cisatracurium to stop his breathing.

Dozier has said that he wishes to be executed and that being put to death is better than spending the rest of his life in prison.

In court hearings and letters, he said there is a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison.

In the Arizona case, Dozier was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the shooting and mauling of 26-year-old Jasen Greene, whose body was found in 2002 in a shallow grave outside Phoenix.

Dozier was sentenced to death in 2002 after being convicted of killing and dismembering 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller. A witness testified that Dozier used a sledgehammer to break Greene's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic tote that Dozier used to transport methamphetamine, equipment and chemicals. The victim's torso was found in a suitcase dumped in a trash bin in Las Vegas, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections.

The Nevada authorities refused to make public how they obtained the fentanyl and other drugs, but last week the ACLU won a court ruling forcing the department of corrections to hand over invoices.

He did, however, let federal public defenders challenge the execution protocol drawn up past year by state medical and prison officials.

They argued that the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet. The state said it would explore whether it could appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

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