After surrendering its supply of a lethal injection drug to federal agents in 2011, Arkansas turned to a somewhat surprising place to look for another drug: a list prepared by lawyers for several death row inmates.
The state Department of Correction told The Associated Press this week that it decided to switch to phenobarbital after lawyers for several inmates said in a lawsuit that it might be an available drug.
Phenobarbital is used to treat seizures. It has never been used in a U.S. execution. Some death penalty critics fear it could lead to inhumane deaths for condemned prisoners.
But as drugmakers object to their products' use in lethal injections, more death penalty states may be headed for similarly uncharted territory in the search for alternatives.