Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Deadly drugs

A sort of bizarre debate is currently going on in the USA, whether or not it is legal to import thiopental from Europe. Sodium thiopental is a part of the lethal injection used for executions in parts of the USA. Currently there is a shortage of domestic sodium thiopental and buying it from Europe may be in violation to FDA (Federal Drug Administrations) rules regarding drugs. The issue is if these rules are applicable since it is not used as a drug. In the UK, the source of the import, the debate is about whether or not it is legal to sell a substance used for killing people when it is known that it will in fact be used for executions. 

Sodium thiopental induces unconsciousness, then the prisoner is paralysed by pancuronium bromide and finally the heart is stopped using potassium chloride. This may seem to be a rather medieval way of punishment, and not surprisingly the death sentence has been abolished in most democratic countries. However, it still exists in many states ruled by communism, religious fundamentalism or despotism. Not a fun group to be associated with for the USA...

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