Nebraska Executes First Inmate Using Fentanyl

There's a Fentanyl Crisis in the United States. Nebraska Is About To Murder Someone With It on Purpose

After a federal appeals court rejected a pharmaceutical company's attempt to block Moore's execution, the almost four-decade inmate will be put to death using a never-before-used combination of the opioid fentanyl, valium, a muscle relaxant, and a substance that will stop his heart-which anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean denounced as "human experimentation".

The convicted killer was given the needle for the 1979 murders of cab drivers Reuel Van Ness and Maynard Helgeland, both 47, in Omaha.

According to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, Moore was given a combination of four drugs, the first of which was administered at 10.24am, and was pronounced dead 23 minutes later. The four-drug cocktail also includes the sedative diazepam, also known as Valium, and the powerful painkiller fentanyl, which has helped fuel the ongoing opioid epidemic in the US.

Moore seemed to repeatedly mouth the words, "I love you", toward the witnesses just after the injections began, Schulte said.

Moore launched no last-minute appeals to spare his life, but the US arm of German drug maker Fresenius Kabi had sued unsuccessfully to prevent the state from using its products in a lethal injection, which it says could harm its reputation.

Moore's execution is Nebraska's first in 21 years. "Today stands as the most recent dark chapter in Nebraska's troubled history with the death penalty".

State prison director Scott Frakes wrote in an affidavit after the lawsuit was filed that "lethal substances used in a lethal injection execution are hard, if almost impossible, to obtain", detailing his attempts to secure drugs from at least 40 suppliers, according to the Washington Post.

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The execution was carried out with "professionalism, respect for the process and dignity for all involved", he said. Friday, a lawyer for the drug company behind the paralyzing drug said it might not be effective if it wasn't stored at the proper temperature, the World-Herald reports.

Nebraska is not the first state to consider using fentanyl in an execution - particularly as drug companies continue to resist their products being used for death sentences.

Moore was brought into the death chamber shortly after 9am local time and, still standing, was asked if he wanted to say anything. A group with considerable financial backing from Ricketts and his family then pushed to have the issue added to the statewide ballot in 2016, where 60 percent of voters chose to restore capital punishment.

The company, Fresenius Kabi, argued that allowing the execution to go forward would harm its reputation and business relationships. After a circuit court panel on Monday rejected the company's appeal, the firm said it would not seek further appeals in the case.

The state argued it legally obtained the drugs from a licensed US pharmacy. In response, some states have turned to other methods of execution, including nitrogen gas or the firing squad. The majority of those - at least 1 305 - were carried out by lethal injection, the centre said.

The choice of fentanyl for an execution points to a state's desperation to find drugs, experts said.

According to the Death Penalty Information Centre, 31 states, the federal government and U.S. military allow for capital punishment. "The people of Nebraska have spoken".

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