For the first time in history, Nevada is preparing to execute a man using fentanyl.
VICE reports that the Nevada Department of Corrections recently secured fentanyl – one of the key culprits in North America’s opioid epidemic – for the lethal injection of Scott Dozier, 46, on Nov. 14.
Dozier – who is being sentenced for the murders of Jeremiah Miller and Jasen Green – will be executed using a cocktail of fentanyl, diazepam and cisatracurium. This is the first time such a cocktail will be used in an execution, and some experts are concerned about its effectiveness.
“Use of these drugs could result in a botched execution, leading to torture or a lingering death in violation of the protections of the United States Constitution,” said Tod Story, the executive director of the ACLU of Nevada.
The organization is looking into whether they can legally challenge the untried procedure, which will mark the first execution in Nevada in more than a decade.
The details around the planned execution – including the order in which the drugs will be administered – are fuzzy.
New York University professor of emergency medicine Susi Vassallo told The Marshall Project that this particular cocktail “doesn’t make much sense.”
“You don’t need Valium [aka diazepam] if you have fentanyl,” she said, as both drugs are lethal and cause unconsciousness.
The fentanyl would need to be administered in a large, ongoing dose to kill Dozier – dissimilar from past lethal injection protocols – according to Vassallo.
Nevada considered scrapping the death penalty altogether earlier this year, but the bill failed following heated debate. Death penalty opponent State Sen. Tick Segerblom told VICE he was concerned about the state’s plan to use fentanyl in the upcoming execution of Dozier.
“People are killing themselves, drug abusers, with fentanyl, and now the state is going to do the same thing to this guy,” he said.