Soon finding a lethal needle will be like will be like finding ... some ... thing ... in a haystack.
To refute the poison deniers, you need only look at the facts. In 2010, Hospira -- the only source in the U.S. of vital poisons like thiopental -- ran dry. They stopped producing the poison because the economic and social climate surrounding the death penalty had changed so drastically that their plants could no longer function. Since then, poison-poor states like Ohio and Arizona have had to get creative to stretch the use of every toxin they have. Things have gotten so bad that they've had to resort to using a non-approved poison called midazolam, which is typically used by veterinarians to put down animals. Just think about that: humans reduced to using dog poison. That's how dire the situation has become. And as you might expect, these desperate measures have resulted in botched executions, such as that of Joseph Wood, who was injected 15 times and gasped for air for two hours. Thankfully, he finally died. But doesn't it break your heart to think about having to waste 15 injections on just one execution? It's a shame we can't use heartbreak to kill inmates; metaphors aren't nearly as effective as sodium thiopental.
The shortage has also created a black market for something as simple and basic as execution-grade venom. Some states have had to pay hundreds of times the retail value of a poison. It's not surprising, then, that hard-up states have turned to a life of crime. In 2015, Arizona paid $27,000 to illegally smuggle a measly thousand vials of sodium thiopental unto the U.S., only to have it confiscated by the federal government. A heartbreaking conclusion to the story of a state just struggling to kill the 118 people on its death row. In cases like this, there simply are no good options. If they wait, those inmates might be exonerated, prove that they have mental disabilities, or simply die of natural causes. It's a choice no state should have to make. And the problem is growing.