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States That Offer Sedation Prior to Execution
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Thread: States That Offer Sedation Prior to Execution

  1. #1
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010

    States That Offer Sedation Prior to Execution

    South Dakota
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  2. #2
    Junior Member Stranger spayneuteryourpets's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    I did not know this was an option. That's nice, I guess. I still don't know how I feel about the death penalty. I keep going back and forth.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Stranger
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    Jan 2013
    I'm with you on this one...sometimes I feel the death penalty is warranted and sometimes I don't think it is...I think it all comes down to if the person is guilty or not..there's always that little bit of doubt...

  4. #4
    Junior Member Stranger Eminey1's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    United Kingdom
    Sedation? Terrible! People who have ended up on death row and are going through execution should have no rights to sedation in my opinion. They should be fully aware of their surroundings and the situation before them. Maybe killers should start carrying round sedation for their victims, after all we wouldn't want to discriminate would we!
    I really think people should sit and think long and hard about what they are typing, put brain into action before fingers so to speak. Look at your child, your spouse, your mother and think hard if they were taken from you in the most horrific manner (god forbid) and ask yourself would your opinions stay as they are now?

  5. #5
    Member Newbie iamjumbo's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
    Burns, Tennessee
    You are quite correct. Sadly, far too many don't comprehend the fact that there is NO atonement for murder on this earth, and no rational person cares what a murderer has to endure
    happiness is a warm gun and a dead thief

    custer died for your sins

  6. #6
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Stro07's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    November 3, 2006

    States use drugs to calm condemned before execution

    COLUMBUS, Ohio Condemned killer David Brewer, who went calmly to his death in Ohio after acknowledging his guilt, had a little help with his nerves: an anti-anxiety drug.

    In a common but little-known execution scenario, at least 19 of the country's 38 death penalty states offer sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs to condemned inmates.

    "It helps keep the inmate calm and we think that's good, not just for the inmate but for the staff as well," said Brian Hauswirth, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections.

    The practice does not violate national ethics standards for doctors and nurses who prescribe or administer the sedatives but makes some opponents of the death penalty uneasy because it involves doctors, however incidentally, in putting people to death.

    Condemned inmates in 11 states have received sedatives or anti-anxiety drugs before executions going back at least 12 years, according to a review by The Associated Press.

    Four death penalty states prohibit the drugs, including Texas, with the country's busiest execution chamber. Ohio has had the second-busiest since 2004.

    In Mississippi, inmate Bobby Glenn Wilcher took Valium an hour before he was executed Oct. 18. He also took the drug on July 11, before the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily stopped his execution with 30 minutes to go.

    In Utah, Joseph Mitchell Parsons received a mild sedative through his IV before the lethal chemicals began flowing prior to his 1999 execution.

    Eight of 24 inmates put to death since Ohio resumed executions in 1999 took the medication before they died by injection, according to logs of each prisoner's last 24 hours, obtained through a public records request by the AP. Five inmates declined the drugs, and records don't indicate if drugs were offered in the remaining cases.

    Other inmates executed since Oct. 18 didn't take the drugs, including serial killer Danny Rolling in Florida and cult leader Jeffrey Lundgren in Ohio.

    The number of executions nationally has declined in recent years from a high of 99 in 1999 to 60 last year, and 50 to date this year. Almost all executions since 1999 have been by injection; 12 inmates have died by electric chair.

    Florida allows members of the execution team to offer inmates Valium or a related drug two hours before a prisoner is scheduled to die. At least one inmate in Arkansas was prescribed a sedative in recent years. In Montana, condemned killer Duncan McKenzie received the sedative Versed before his 1995 execution.

    Ohio prison officials gave Brewer the anti-anxiety drug Ativan three times the day before his execution and at 6:03 a.m. on April 29, 2003, four hours and 17 minutes before he was declared dead.

    The other drug most commonly given to condemned inmates in Ohio is Vistaril, an antihistamine sometimes prescribed as a sedative. Such drugs are used frequently because they're on the state's list of drugs that medical staff are allowed to prescribe.

    Prison logs show that nurses most often deliver the drugs to the inmates. The American Nurses Association said it had some concerns about what appeared to be Ohio's routine use of Vistaril.

    "Correction nurses should ensure that inmates are evaluated individually and that inmates are not given Vistaril or any drugs on the basis of standing orders," said Laurie Badzek, director of the ANA's Center for Ethics and Human Rights.

    A staff doctor or psychiatrist prescribes drugs to inmates on an individual basis only after closely assessing them to see what their mood is and whether the drugs should be offered, said Edwin Voorhies, warden at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, where Ohio's executions take place.

    "A great deal of effort goes into preparing the condemned felon mentally for what he's about to face," Voorhies said. "Our goal is to get them to walk peacefully into that chamber."

    That's usually what happens, whether as a result of medication or for other reasons. Only one inmate, Lewis Williams, struggled before dying, requiring several guards to carry him into the execution chamber in 2004 and strap him to the gurney. There is no record of Williams taking any sedatives.

    Ohio would not provide details about the drugs and prescriptions, saying they are confidential under state open records law because they are part of inmates' files.

    The American Medical Association prohibits doctors from participating in executions but allows them to relieve an inmate's suffering ahead of time, which could include giving someone a tranquilizer.

    Physicians who prescribe drugs before an execution are in a gray area ethically, said Jonathan Groner, a surgeon who opposes the death penalty and writes frequently about lethal injection.

    "Bringing the physician into arm's reach of the execution chamber lends a veneer of medical respectability to the proceedings," said Groner, an associate professor at Ohio State's medical school. "I'm personally wary of this illusion of medical healing for the purpose of killing."

    The remaining states that allow sedation are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Washington.

    Giving condemned killers something to calm their nerves is not new. Sheriffs occasionally offered drinks to men facing the gallows in 19th century Ohio.

    As recently as 1979, a Florida warden gave death row inmate John Spenkelink two belts of whiskey before he was executed for killing a traveling companion.

    Lois Hess, a victims' advocate in Baltimore, questioned why condemned inmates should die any easier than the people they killed.

    "Give them a sedative? Give me a break," said Hess, 78, whose son was murdered in 1975; his killer did not receive the death penalty. "They did something horrible they don't need any mercy."

    Federal prosecutor William Schenck, a death penalty supporter who oversaw Brewer's execution for choking and stabbing a woman to death, says it's humane to give inmates sedatives if they want them.

    "There's no reason to torture anyone or make them go through any kind of terrible anxiety before they're executed," Schenck said.


  7. #7
    Banned TheKindExecutioner's Avatar
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    May 2011
    This seems like a reasonable request. As long as they execute the guy! Executions have gotten too rare in America!

  8. #8
    Admiral CnCP Legend JT's Avatar
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    Apr 1976
    In ma hoose
    Consider the sedative an hors d'oeuvre to the main course they'll receive later. It really is no big deal.
    "I have adopted the Italian way of life... I may stab you!"

    "You make the British Lion seem like a declawed, toothless, neutered fat tabby with the mange."

    "Maybe you think your being clever."

  9. #9
    Senior Member Member nmiller855's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    I'm glad Texas isn't on this list. I want the convict to be fully aware that they are about go give their life for the heinous act they chose to commit.

  10. #10
    Banned TheKindExecutioner's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Are you saying if the inmate requested the nurse the day before execution they wouldn't get a sedative in Texas?

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