Lethal injection is a method of execution used in capital punishment. The usual procedure for lethal injection involves strapping a prisoner down to a gurney-style bed. Two sets of intravenous tubes are inserted into each of the prisoner's arms. A typical lethal injection will include three drugs:
- Sodium Pentathol - a sedative to put the prisoner to sleep
- Pancuronium Bromide - a paralyzing agent that stops the prisoner's breathing
- Potassium Chloride - a drug that causes the heart to cease beating.
An alternative method uses only Sodium Pentathol as the single drug, in a lethal quantity.
Lethal injection was first used on December 7, 1982, when Charlie Brooks was executed in Texas.
Death by lethal injection has not traditionally been believed to be painful as the inmate will lose consciousness prior to the death-inducing drugs being pumped in their veins. Recent medical findings, however, have called this into question.
Lethal injection is the preferred method for executions in the United States. It has also been used in China, Guatemala and the Philippines.