NASHVILLE, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Tennessee says a nationwide shortage of a drug used in lethal injections has it in a quandary about the 86 inmates on the state's death row.
The only U.S. maker of sodium thiopental, the first in a three-drug cocktail used in executions, will no longer produce it.
Tennessee officials said they only had enough of the drug to carry out eight executions, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Sunday.
Tennessee, one of 35 states using lethal injection for executions, may have to choose whether to obtain the drug from overseas sources unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or switch to another drug used to euthanize animals, both of which face legal challenges.
Oklahoma has executed three inmates using pentobarbital, commonly used by veterinarians to euthanize terminally ill cats and dogs. Ohio has committed to using it in executions, and Kentucky is looking at it.
Tennessee officials seem ready to consider it.
"Right now, we're looking at all options," Dorinda Carter, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Correction, said about pentobarbital. "That would be something that would likely be discussed. We're taking our time with that to determine what would be best."