Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  CONTACT:  Office of Communications

January 26, 2011                                                                                   PH: (614) 752-1150

Ohio Changes Lethal Injection Drug

(Columbus) – The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) announced today it will substitute Pentobarbital for Sodium Thiopental for the purposes of carrying out lethal injections in Ohio.  The protocol change results from a national shortage of Sodium Thiopental and the manufacturer’s announced discontinuation of production. 

The new drug, Pentobarbital, is widely available and manufactured in the United States.  The change in protocol was communicated to U.S. District Judge Frost before whom legal action is pending concerning Ohio’s lethal injection procedure.  Pending further legal developments, the new procedure will be used for the execution of Johnnie Baston in March. 

The state of Oklahoma has used Pentobarbital in three executions.  At a much lower dosage, Pentobarbital is used to induce coma in heart surgery patients. 

This protocol will not impact the execution of Frank Spisak scheduled for February 17, 2011. However, it will be applied to all future executions.  DRC will continue to exercise this responsibility in a professional, humane and dignified manner.