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Oklahoma will be the first state in the country to use nitrogen gas to execute inmates once it resumes carrying out the death penalty. State officials confirmed on Wednesday that they plan to use nitrogen gas for capital punishment after being unsuccessful for months in obtaining lethal injection drugs.
The Department of Corrections will work closely with State Attorney General Mike Hunter to develop new protocols related to the new capital punishment method over the coming months.
Such development is due in large part to the challenges Oklahoma and other states are facing as regards to the death penalty. They haven’t been able to procure the drugs required for lethal injection due to opposition from drugmakers to having their products used in executions.
Allbaugh admitted that in his desperate attempts to find a supply of lethal drugs, he was forced to negotiate with “seedy individuals” who may have had access to the said drugs. Allbaugh added: “I was calling all around the world, to the back streets of the Indian sub-continents.”
Oklahoma used to be one of the busiest death chambers in the country. It has not carried out, however, an execution since 2015 after a series of mishaps, including a botched lethal injection in 2014 where an inmate was left writhing in pain on the gurney, and drug mix-ups in which the wrong lethal drugs were delivered to the prison for the executions.
It is not yet clear if there are any objections or harsh reactions from any concerned individuals or groups regarding Oklahoma’s decision to shift to nitrogen gas for the executions.
For his part, Hunter said that using nitrogen is the best way for the state to resume the halted executions because nitrogen is fairly easy to procure, simple to use and will result in a painless death for the inmate. He defended that there is an increasing body of research on the use of inert gases on humans because of its use in assisted suicides.