Death by Fentanyl: Nevada Tries New Execution Method

July 11, 2018

Nevada plans to carry out the first execution using fentanyl, a drug at the heart of the US opioid epidemic, on Wednesday.

The state intends to use a synthetic opioid – involved in more than 20,000 overdose deaths in 2016 alone – to kill Scott Dozier, a double murderer, after finding it difficult to obtain other drugs for Nevada’s first execution in 12 years because of opposition from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

But questions have been raised about whether Nevada’s department of corrections broke the law to obtain the fentanyl, and whether the multibillion dollar distribution company that provided the drug ignored evidence it was to be used in an execution.

Fentanyl has moved to the centre of the opioid epidemic as a powerful and dangerous illicit powder, one hundred times more potent than morphine and frequently mixed with heroin or pressed into fake prescription pills. But it is also sold as a prescription painkiller, including a version for injection which can kill in higher dosages.

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