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Posted: 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, 2017

Ohio officials seek drug that reverses lethal injection process

Executions have been on hold in Ohio since 2014

Death sentences decline sharply as public attitudes shift
FILE - This Sept. 21, 2010, file photo shows the death chamber of the new lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif. Only 30 people were sentenced to death in the United States in 2016, the lowest number since the early 1970s and a further sign of the steady decline in use of the death penalty. The number is a sharp drop from the 49 death sentences last year and just a fraction of the peak of 315 in 1996, according to a report from the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization that opposes capital punishment and tracks the issue. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

By Glenn Schroeder

Ohio's prisons agency is trying to obtain a drug that could reverse the lethal injection process if needed by stopping the effects of another drug previously used in problematic executions.

The request to use the drug would come if executioners weren't confident the first of three lethal drugs would render a prisoner unconscious, Gary Mohr, director of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said in federal court testimony on Jan. 6.

Mohr said he would inform Republican Gov. John Kasich and ask for a reprieve at that point. "Governor, I am not confident that we, in fact, can achieve a successful execution. I want to reverse the effects of this,"

Mohr testified, describing the language he would use in such a circumstance.

Mohr said that Ohio planned to order the drug, flumazenil, but didn't currently have it.

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