COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's supply of lethal injection drugs expires this spring, meaning the state won't be able to carry out executions past March under its current system unless it finds a source for more drugs, The Associated Press has learned.
The state has 40 vials of midazolam, the powerful sedative used to render inmates unconscious, which expire April 1, according to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
The state's execution policy calls for a combination of that drug and a second — the painkiller hydromorphone — meaning it could not proceed with executions without both drugs. The state's supply of 60 vials of hydromorphone expires June 1, the prisons agency said.
Ohio has executions scheduled in February, March, May, July, September and November. Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith declined to comment.
Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law last month that would shield the names of companies providing lethal drugs to Ohio. The goal of the bill is to make it easier to obtain compounded pentobarbital, the state's first choice for executions but which it hasn't been able to find.
If Ohio adjusts its execution policies, including the types of drugs used, any changes must come 30 days before a scheduled execution. That means such updates would likely come this week.
Missouri and Texas have supplies of compounded pentobarbital and have used the drug successfully in several recent executions.
On Feb. 11, the state is scheduled to put to death Ronald Phillips for the 1993 rape and killing of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, Sheila Marie Evans.
On March 12, Raymond Tibbetts is scheduled to die for the 1997 fatal stabbing of Fred Hicks in Cincinnati.
Four death row inmates including Tibbetts have sued over the new law, saying it restricts information that helps inform the public debate over capital punishment.
The state says 59 vials of hydromorphone previously expired on April 1 of last year, while 29 vials of midazolam expired on May 1 of last year.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.