Home Opinion OPINION: Ohio’s considered usage of Fentanyl in Capital Punishment is hauntingly ironic

OPINION: Ohio’s considered usage of Fentanyl in Capital Punishment is hauntingly ironic

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Overdose deaths in Ohio reach new high. Photo from Nottingham Vet School

Opinion writer Tim Zelina argues Ohio’s consideration to use fentanyl in executions reflects the drugs broader social impact.

Ohioans are well aware of the ruinous effects of fentanyl. Many know of someone who has died from this horrific epidemic. Ohio is, as well as our neighboring states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan, absolutely ravaged by fentanyl. Some police departments are so overloaded with responding to overdoses and opioid-related crimes that they rarely have time to respond to anything else.

For all its benefits of a pain reliever, fentanyl’s most striking quality is its efficiency in killing over and over again.

Some 21,000 people, including legendary performance artist Prince, died of fentanyl overdoses in 2016, a 540 percent increase since 2013. Ohio alone accounted for 2,357 of those deaths. To put that into perspective, over 1 in 10 of all US fentanyl-induced deaths occured in Ohio.

This staggering death toll failed to bother the pharmaceutical companies that continued producing and selling the drug in alarming quantities. One death from fentanyl, however, finally pushed the pharmaceutical companies into action.

In August of this year, the state of Nebraska used fentanyl to execute convicted killer Carey Dean Moore. Combined in a cocktail of four other drugs, Moore died 23 minutes after the toxic injection. The successful state-sanctioned murder of Moore was to be replicated in the execution of Scott Dozier, another convicted killer.

This usage of fentanyl was outrageous to the pharmaceutical companies who have happily made millions while their irresponsible drug production tears apart entire towns. Multinational pharmaceutical producer Pfizer cried foul at the usage of fentanyl as an execution method.

If the state of Nebraska used fentanyl as an execution method, then Pfizer would have trouble selling fentanyl to its customers. If it’s used to kill people, their customers might have second thoughts about distributing it to their patients.

Hours before Scott Dozier was to be executed, a judge sided with the pharmaceutical companies, delaying the execution until an alternate method could be found.

There is an almost comical irony to these developments. These drug companies have never been bothered by the devastation their drugs have caused to those facing addiction and instead have focused on the profits they earn from their destruction. Now, however, one death has leaped them into action. Not because the dam has finally broken, and the pharmaceutical companies have realized the errors of their ways. No, the real issue in the pharmaceutical companies’ minds is the bad PR.

One has to wonder if maybe Nebraska is on to something. A state like Ohio could do well to relegate fentanyl to do what it seems to do best.

Due to its extensive history of death, fentanyl should be embraced as the drug of choice for executing those on death row. Fentanyl has performed fantastically in its capacity to kill those who come into contact with it. What could be a better demonstration of this drug’s impact on the world than to use it in executions?

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One Comment

  1. Dudley Sharp

    September 6, 2018 at 12:18 PM

    It would be surprising if all states don’t use fentanyl in executions., if they don’t change to nitrogen gas.

    It is effective and constitutional and could be used as the sole drug.

    The manufacturer could be taken out of the loop by only using fentanyl that has been seized in criminal investigations. All that would be required is testing as to purity. Only tiny amounts are required.

    Justice, as defined by judge or jury, can, therefore, be carried out in a legal and peaceful manner.

    Reply

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