Arkansas not actively seeking drug needed for executions, prisons official confirms

Arkansas’ prison officials are not preparing to carry out any executions before years end because of a dwindling supply of lethal injection drugs and they have no way to keep secret the manufacturers of future batches, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Only one prisoner on death row — Don Davis — is currently eligible for execution. But the Department of Correction lacks one of three drugs needed to carry out lethal injections.

The search for that drug, vecuronium bromide, ended in March, prisons spokesman Solomon Graves said, after the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the state may no longer keep secret documents identifying the manufacturers of its execution drugs.

Little Rock TV station KARK first reported the halt in the drug search.

“We are not actively looking for additional drug supplies at this time,” Graves said Wednesday, confirming the TV station’s report.

Graves added that the Department of Correction has no plans to resume its search until lawmakers change the state’s Method of Execution Act to make manufacturers exempt from disclosure under the state’s public records law. Such a change in the law is unlikely to come until lawmakers next meet for a general session in January 2019.

By then the state’s two remaining supplies of execution drugs — midazolam, a sedative, and potassium chloride, the heart-stopping third drug — will have also expired.