Report: Justice Department considered using fentanyl in resumed executions

Report: Justice Department considered using fentanyl in resumed executions
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The Justice Department reportedly considered a plan last year to use the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl in executions of federal death row inmates.

Reuters reported Friday that court documents filed last month by the Trump administration revealed the now-scrapped plan, which considered the use of fentanyl as the drug used in lethal injections as the Justice Department resumes executions for prisoners on federal death row.


It wasn't immediately clear why fentanyl was considered or rejected by the agency, and the Justice Department declined to provide information when contacted by Reuters.

Mark Inch, former director of the Bureau of Prisons, reportedly confirmed authoring a memo related to the use of fentanyl on executions before his resignation in an interview with Reuters.

Consideration of the drug's use comes as authorities across the nation have battled a rise in fentanyl sold illicitly on the street, often as a substitute for heroin, which many experts have pointed to as a factor in the ongoing opioid addiction crisis in America.

Official plans to look into fentanyl's use appear to have been abandoned by the agency, which announced in July it would use pentobarbital in executions. Court documents obtained by Reuters indicated that fentanyl and pentobarbital were the only two drugs considered by the Justice Department.

Two states, Nebraska and Nevada, announced in 2017 that they would switch to using fentanyl in executions amid a growing inability of many states to reliably secure alternate execution drugs.