Lethal injection is the most common method of execution in the United States.
It was first used in Texas in 1982, and since then, all but one state that has capital punishment uses lethal injection as their primary method of execution.
Here are ten fun facts about lethal injection:
1. The drugs used for lethal injections are typically a combination of an anesthetic (such as pentobarbital or sodium thiopental) and a paralytic agent (like pancuronium bromide).
2. The first drug injected renders the inmate unconscious, while the second drug causes paralysis and stops the inmate’s breathing.
3. A third drug, potassium chloride, is then injected to stop the heart.
4. The entire process usually takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish.
5. Inmates are typically strapped to a gurney with straps across their chest, legs and arms before being injected with the drugs.
6. Most states allow inmates to choose between lethal injection and another method of execution if it is available, such as electrocution or gas chamber. However, some states do not give this choice and require inmates to be executed by lethal injection regardless of their preference.
7. Lethal injections are often carried out in special execution chambers separate from the general prison population areas where death row inmates are housed leading up to their executions.
8. There have been several botched executions by lethal injection over the years.
9. Some people argue that because lethal injections appear more ‘humane’ they actually make executing prisoners more palatable to society.
10. In China – which executes more people each year than any other country – prisoners sentenced to death may be given a choice of either lethal injection or shooting.