Lethal injection

form of execution involving injection of chemicals into the bloodstream

Lethal injection is injecting a person, particularly criminal, with poison or poisons. Usually the process involves a fatal dose and combination of drugs (often it is three) to end the life of the person. It is usually done as capital punishment. It is the main way to execute prisoners in the United States.[1]

The lethal injection room in California

Seventeen prisoners were executed in the United States in 2020. Five states and the Federal Government carried out executions[2]. The idea of lethal injection was first suggested in New York in 1888, but Oklahoma was the first place to make a law that said it could use it in 1977.[3] Texas was the first state to use lethal injection for an execution. This first happened when Charlie Brooks was executed in 1982. Thirty-four US states now use it as a form of capital punishment.[3] Other countries to use it are China, Taiwan, and Guatemala.[3]

Lethal injection is usually done by using three chemicals. The chemicals are usually sodium thiopental (an anesthetic), pancuronium bromide (used to paralyze the person being injected), and potassium chloride (to stop the heart so that the person being injected dies).[4] In the United States, a chemical shortage has made some states have to wait to carry out executions. Other states have changed what chemicals they use.[5] Executioners have experimented with injectible forms or potassium, or fentanyl. These executions faced issues and some were cancelled, because potassium for example caused a lot of needless pain when injected in large doses (something that was already known).

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  1. "HowStuffWorks "How Lethal Injection Works"". people.howstuffworks.com. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
  2. "2020". Death Penalty Information Center. Retrieved 2024-05-22.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "HowStuffWorks "How Lethal Injection Works"". people.howstuffworks.com. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
  4. "State by State Lethal Injection". Death Penalty Information Center. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  5. Horne, Jennifer. "Lethal Injection Drug Shortage". The Council of State Governments. Archived from the original on 23 March 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016.