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Environment

Simple, Effective Lethal Injection

August 4, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 31

After reading the article on lethal injections, I am amazed at how complex some states have made what should be a relatively simple procedure (C&EN, May 26, page 46). Instead of using two or three drugs, why not use just morphine? It has been around for over a century, so its toxicology should be well-known. And since it is an anesthetic, the procedure should be virtually painless.

Another comment: Since lethal gassing has a lower percentage of botched executions, why not use it? To be humane, states should use a gas that does not irritate the lungs, such as hydrogen cyanide, nitrous oxide, or carbon monoxide—definitely not phosgene, NOx, or chlorine.

Richard V. Cartwright
Sykesville, Md.

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