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      Missouri's supply lethal injection drug expires next month

      Missouri is just one of the 35 states with capital punishment that an Associated Press review found found to be running out run out of a key lethal injection drug or already have. The drug called sodium thiopental, the first of three drugs used in executions as an anesthetic that renders condemned inmates unconscious has become so scarce over the past year that a few states have had to postpone executions. The New York Times reported the sole American manufacturer of an anesthetic widely used in lethal injections, Hospira Inc., said Friday that it would no longer produce the drug. The manufacturer planned to resume production of the drug in Italy, but Italian authorities will not permit export of the drug if it might be used for capital punishment. In many states, adopting a new protocol for lethal injections requires formal proposals, public comment and often challenges in court " a process that can take months or more, Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center told the New York Times.Execution delays could soon become widespread now that the only U.S. company that makes the drug has decided to stop producing it.Switching to another drug could be tough for some states that have complicated regulations.Others are beginning to see legal challenges about whether a switch or the use of expired drugs could violate inmates' constitutional rights.Earlier this month the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri announced that the Missouri Department of Corrections had a dwindling supply of sodium thiopental, and that what they had on hand was nearing its expiration date.Communications director for the Missouri's Department of Corrections Chris Cline told KRCG the state currently has 40 grams of the drug, enough for 4 executions.However, there's one problem, the 40 grams expire March 1.Cline said the department is "looking at all options that are available to us."Right now Missouri has only one execution scheduled: 47-year old Martin Link is set to be executed on Feb. 9.Link is convicted of killing an 11-year-old St. Louis girl twenty years ago.What's your opinion on the shortage? What do you think should happen?(The Associated Press Contributed to this story)