End Use of Experimental Lethal Injection Drugs


Target: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

Goal: End the use of untested lethal injection drugs used to execute prisoners

Recently, the state of Oklahoma proceeded with its controversial use of experimental lethal injection drugs, and as many feared, things went terribly wrong. Witnesses reported that the prisoner, Clayton Lockett, writhed in pain and clenched his teeth, before dying from a massive heart attack. After prison officials realized the new three-drug combination was not working as intended, they stopped the procedure but he died anyway. Amid ongoing legal battles over experimental drugs, the state of Oklahoma, among others, continues to administer injections known to cause suffering. Urge Governor Mary Fallin to ensure that these experimental drugs are not used on any more prisoners and demand that she order the prison to publicly announce its drug sources.

A second inmate, Charles Warner, received a reprieve when the prison postponed his scheduled execution two hours after that of Lockett. According the Warner’s lawyer, the botched execution of Lockett amounted to torture. Opponents claim that the problems with the execution call into question the ability of states to administer lethal injections that meet the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that they be neither cruel nor unusual punishment.

Over the past few years, several states, including Oklahoma, have had to find new sources of drugs because major European drug manufacturers that oppose capital punishment have stopped selling to prisons. Alternatively, states have turned to compounding pharmacies to custom mix experimental drugs, and they have kept their identities secret. Oklahoma, along with Texas and Missouri, have all refused to reveal their drug sources. However, an Oklahoma county district court judge recently ruled that withholding this information is unconstitutional and denies the inmates their right to access the courts to argue against their own executions.

The botched execution was the first time the state of Oklahoma attempted to use a drug mixture of midazolam, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. A similar drug cocktail was previously used on an Ohio prisoner, who struggled and gasped for air for twenty-six minutes before he died. Similar untested combinations have been documented to cause extreme pain and suffering before death.

Urge Governor Fallin to halt the use of these experimental drug combinations to administer the death penalty and ensure that this unconstitutional practice does not affect other prisoners.


Dear Governor Fallin,

I am writing to urge you to suspend the use of experimental drug combinations to administer executions of state prisoners. In addition, I urge you to order the prison to publicly announce their drug sources.  An Oklahoma county district court judge has ruled that keeping the source of the drugs secret is unconstitutional and denies inmates their right to access the courts to argue against their own executions.

Cruel and unusual punishment is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution, yet these untested drug cocktails have been documented to cause extreme pain and suffering before death. The witness reports from the recent execution of Clayton Lockett tell a tale of tremendous agony and torment before prison officials realized their mistake and attempted to stop the procedure.

I urge you to ensure that Oklahoma prisons immediately stop using these experimental drugs to administer the death penalty and to reveal their drug sources, in accordance with state and federal law.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: CACorrections via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Stan Benton says:

    This is really sick. If we really must have state-sanctioned murder, why in heck don’t they just use morphine? (Too expensive?) Let’s not ask how they undo the murder after the victim is proved innocent? (Only one of the many obvious reasons the death penalty is not used in civilized countries.)

  2. Anne coppens says:

    Cela ne coute rien de laisser libre et heureux tout ce qui a ete cree sur terre

  3. salli Trentz says:

    What if they are not guilty?
    How do you bring them back?
    You are worse than murderers, this is preconceived.

  4. Michelle says:

    This man RAPED A WOMAN!!!
    Do you think she did not suffer?

    Karma is a bitch, sometimes when you are lucky, you get exactly what you deserve.

    I wish they would bring back the death penalty in South Africa, maybe the sorry excuse for men we have have raping women here as if it is a hobby, will be put it their place.

  5. Martin Nikolov says:

    Prisoners who have been given a death sentence don’t deserve compassion (except in the very rare cases where innocents are mistakenly given the death sentence). So no, I won’t sign a petition that asks for compassion for monsters. It’s the victims that need compassion and humane treatment, not the monsters!

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