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Arizona Approved To Import Drug Used For Executions

Arizona has received federal approval to import pentobarbital, the drug often used for executions in states that allow lethal injection.

The Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday renewed the Arizona Department of Corrections’ registration to import the drug. But that doesn’t mean the drug will be used any time soon.

The notice comes just six weeks after the state executed Joseph Wood using a different set of drugs in a process that took almost two hours.

According to Cronkite News Service, the renewal is just one step in what would be a long process toward the importation of pentobarbital. The Food and Drug Administration would also have to authorize the corrections department to import the drug.

The drug has become increasingly hard for states to acquire, since some manufacturers have refused to sell the drug for lethal injection.

Officials at the Arizona Department of Corrections would not comment on the DEA approval Thursday, except to note that it was a renewal of a previous license to import.

Al Macias, former KJZZ news director, is part of an elite class of trusted, veteran journalists who have covered Arizona news for more than 30 years.