In a bid to combat rising overdose rates, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided to limit the amount of lethal injections the drugmakers can use.
The agency said it is “considering the need to limit and/or limit the use of various injection machines and/and/or other types of equipment” in executions.
The move comes as the number of executions has risen steadily in recent years, but the number is still far below the nearly 9,000 the agency plans to execute in 2021.
The number of states in which a person can be put to death has dropped from 10 in 2016 to nine now, according to a study published Monday by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
The FDA’s announcement comes as a wave of new technology has been used to kill prisoners in recent months, and in 2017 alone, the agency added three more types of lethal injection drugs to its list of drugs approved for use in executions in a bid for a more humane death process.