Court fight over Ohio executions likely to focus on sedative

The state argues that a planned dose of 500 milligrams will ensure that inmates are properly sedated

FILE - This July 25, 2014 file photo shows bottles of the sedative midazolam at a hospital pharmacy in Oklahoma City. Exactly one year after a botched lethal injection, attorneys for other Oklahoma death row inmates were set to ask the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, April 29, 2015 to outlaw a sedative used in the procedure — a ruling that could force several states to either find new execution drugs or change the way they put prisoners to death. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
This July 25, 2014 file photo shows bottles of the sedative midazolam at a hospital pharmacy in Oklahoma City. Exactly one year after a botched lethal injection, attorneys for other Oklahoma death row inmates were set to ask the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, April 29, 2015 to outlaw a sedative used in the procedure — a ruling that could force several states to either find new execution drugs or change the way they put prisoners to death. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio says it’s resuming executions in January with a three-drug protocol similar to one it used for several years.

The concept is one adopted for decades by many states: the first drug sedates inmates, the second paralyzes them and the third stops their hearts.

The key difference comes with the first drug the state plans to use, midazolam (mih-DAY’-zoh-lam), which has been challenged in court as unreliable.

The state argues that a planned dose of 500 milligrams will ensure that inmates are properly sedated.

Defense attorneys say it’s unclear what a much bigger dose would achieve.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that midazolam can be used in executions without violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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