Deadly drugs

Published on December 1st, 2015

by Kathleen M. Gallagher

On Sunday I happened to catch CBS’ “60 Minutes” new episode about the death penalty. It highlighted the case of an Arizona prisoner who was sentenced to die by lethal injection. The state had tried a new combination of drugs for this execution, and instead of death within a few minutes, as expected, it took two hours and 15 injections of drugs to kill the man, who lay gasping and gulping on the gurney. According to the correspondent on 60 Minutes, things went “horribly awry.”Pills

The episode focused on the increasing difficulty states are having in finding execution drugs. Apparently many drug companies have banned the use of their drugs for capital punishment, leaving states to try new drugs, or cocktails of drugs, that will work, and will work in a way that is not considered barbaric or “cruel and unusual.”

So here’s my question:  Since it doesn’t appear that states are having any trouble finding the lethal drugs to use in assisted suicides, why can’t they just use those for executions? Assisted suicide advocates repeatedly remind us that when terminally ill patients self-administer their pills, they simply close their eyes and die a “peaceful” and “humane” death. Now that five states have legalized the practice, with California being the latest and the largest — and even more states considering legalization — the drugs can’t be that hard to come by, can they?

Additional questions:

  • Could it be that the lethal drugs used in assisted suicides don’t always lead to “peaceful” deaths? I mean, how would we know, really?
  • Do you think that pharmaceutical companies will ever ban the use of their drugs for assisted suicides the way they’ve banned them for executions? Ha! That would be political correctness gone horribly awry!

Note: This blog post is purposefully facetious and intended to make a point: Human life is sacred. It is always sacred, no matter whether the life is a convicted killer sitting on death row or a terminally ill cancer patient in his own bedroom. States should not be in the business of killing them or assisting in their deaths in any way.

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