Prison Director Says Execution Drug Will Be Found

By MICHAEL GRACZYK
|  Friday, Feb 11, 2011  |  Updated 1:00 PM CDT
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Prison Director Says Execution Drug Will Be Found

AP

Execution gurney in death chamber at Huntsville, Texas.

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Texas' prison director says he's optimistic the state can find the drug sodium thiopental or an alternative to carry out executions after Texas' supply expires at the end of March.

Rick Thaler, director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division, said Friday outside a state prison board meeting the issue has been a top priority within the agency for several months.

Sodium thiopental is one of three drugs used in the lethal mixture given to condemned killers but the sole manufacturer in the U.S. has suspended production and supplies elsewhere have been scarce.

Two executions are scheduled this month, including one next week. Another is set for early April, days after the current Texas supply expires.

Texas is the nation's most active death penalty state.

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