Some executions in the U.S. have been put on hold because of a shortage of one of the drugs used in lethal injections from coast to coast.
Prisons officials in Texas -- the nation's busiest death penalty state -- have refused to discuss how much sodium thiopental they have on hand, saying the information could inflame protesters outside the death house, and "people could get seriously hurt or killed."
The sole U.S. manufacturer, Hospira Inc. of Lake Forest, Ill., blames the shortage on problems with its raw-material suppliers. The company says new batches of sodium thiopental won't be available until January.
The shortage delayed an Oklahoma execution last month and led Kentucky's governor to postpone the signing of death warrants for
two inmates. Arizona is trying to get its hands on the drug in time for its next execution, in late October.
California said the shortage will force it to stop executions on Friday, three hours after an inmate is scheduled to die, when its stock expires.