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SC scrambles to find drugs in order to execute inmate

SC scrambles to find drugs in order to execute inmate

SC lacks the drugs it needs to execute a death row inmate, who was scheduled to die on December 1.

SC has ran out of supplies of pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, all three drugs of their three-drug procedure, according to Department of Corrections head Bryan Stirling. He said other states that have passed a shield law are able to obtain the drugs necessary for lethal injection.

Stirling wouldn't talk about what other protocols SC is looking at, except to say, "We're looking at every option". The supplies of the drugs the state did have expired and have since been returned to their manufacturers.

States that are in similar situations have switched to a one-drug lethal injection, used compounding pharmacies to create or mix drugs, and looked to new cocktails.

Stirling said that for several years he has been pushing state lawmakers to pass a shield law - much like what's in place in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas - in anticipation that SC would face a scenario where the corrections department receives an execution order but can not carry out a lethal injection because of a lack of drugs.

There are now 39 inmates on death row, according to McMaster.

MAY 27 2008 FILE
Above a gurney used to kill inmates in Texas

The governor says lawmakers need to pass a shield law, to protect companies who sell the drugs from public opposition.

Citing an "inquiring press and inquiring people", he said it was easy to see why they would not want to be identified as being a part of the process of supplying the lethal drugs.

Inmates in SC can also choose execution, though Stone did not.

Death row inmates in SC have a choice of the electric chair or lethal injection but Stone has reportedly chosen lethal injection.

Death row inmates there have a choice of the electric chair or lethal injection - the vast majority (46 out of 48) have selected the latter after the drug option was introduced in 1995.