Study Says Execution Drugs Sometimes Fail To Work

A medical review of executions by lethal injection has found that the drugs used sometimes fail to work as planned, causing slow and painful deaths.

The review included looking at the executions of 40 prisoners in North Carolina since 1984.

In a report published by the online journal PLoS Medicine, scientists say that even when administered properly, the three-drug lethal injection method has had problems. The drugs are intended to stop the condemned person's heart while they are sedated. But the report says the drugs have caused some inmates to suffocate while conscious and unable to move.

North Carolina Senator Larry Shaw says the review adds to the reasons that the state should enact a death penalty moratorium.