Powerful anesthetics used in the past as part of the lethal injection protocol no longer available in the US. Therefore, the milder sedative drug called midazolam was initially used to anesthetize the inmate, before injecting the heart stopping drug. If the inmate is not adequately anesthetized, the heart stopping drug causes excruciating pain. As noted in the cited article, this drug “played a part in three long and apparently painful executions last year. It was used in an effort to render inmates unconscious before they were injected with other drugs that cause severe pain.” The Supreme Court was split 5-4 in its recent decision to allow the use of midozolam as part of the lethal injection cocktail. Justice Breyer even wondered if the process is constitutional given the strong potential for severe pain , since “cruel and unusual punishment” is prohibited. I hope the Supremes will soon revisit this matter.