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Fentanyl execution gets go-ahead in federal court

Published on 14/08/18 at 10:33am

The first execution in the United States using the powerful opioid fentanyl, is set to take place in Nebraska on Tuesday after a federal court blocked appeals from the German healthcare company Fresenius Kabi.

The federal court granted approval for the execution of Carey Dean Moore who has been on death row since 1979 in relation to the murder of two taxi drivers in Omaha. The execution which was given the go-ahead on Monday of this week is set to be the first execution in Nebraska since 1997.

Moore, who said he wishes to die, will be given the sedative Valium alongside fentanyl in an effort to supress his breathing. Notably both drugs have been linked to a spate of overdose deaths across America in recent years. Specifically, fentanyl was linked to more than 20,000 deaths in Nebraska in 2016 alone.

Drug maker Fresenius Kabi launched an appeal against state executioners arguing that the state of Nebraska had stored the drugs improperly and as such their use could lead to a botched and painful execution which would lead to reputational harm for the company.

However the appeals court said that Fresenius was not likely to suffer irreparable damage from the use of its drugs in the execution.

A judge did however indefinitely postpone the execution of Scott Dozier in Nevada after Alvogen objected to the use of the sedative midazolam on the grounds that it did not want its drug used in a ‘botched’ execution.

Danielle Conrad, director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Nebraska commented: “While more states are turning away from the death penalty, Nebraska officials are rushing to carry out an execution cloaked in secrecy with an untested four-drug scheme that carries immeasurable risks for unnecessary pain and a botched execution.”

Louis Goss

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