United States

Nevada and Nebraska Executioners Are Turning to Powerful Opioid Fentanyl

As two states prepare to use the powerful opioid fentanyl in executions, an inmate on death row in Nebraska is preparing to challenge the use of “an untried four-drug combination” to carry out his death sentence for the 2002 killings of five people during a bank robbery.

Fentanyl, which is blamed for thousands of overdose deaths across the U.S., is also a key ingredient in the lethal cocktail that Nevada officials hope to use to execute another convicted killer.

“We are still waiting for the courts to approve the use of this new drug cocktail,” Nevada DOC spokeswoman Brooke Keast said Tuesday in an email to NBC News. “But should that happen, we have purchased enough fentanyl to use it in future executions as well.”

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