There are many things to fear when facing criminal charges, including a long prison sentence, heavy fines and life-altering damage to reputation. In Texas, hefty penalties are often handed down for convictions as compared to other states. Among these more serious sentences includes the death penalty, a form of punishment losing support by the day. Yet, the state of Texas continues to use this form of punishment.

Recent news, however, indicates that even if public policy can’t convince Texas to halt its use of the death penalty, a shortage in the state’s supply of the lethal drug might. Texas is the country’s most active death penalty state, but it is running out of the drug it uses for executions.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the state’s supply of the drug, Pentobarbital, expires in September. Thus far, no alternatives have been found. Europe has been refusing to supply the drug to death penalty states, unwilling to condone the practice.

If Texas is having a problem, so likely are other states. Missouri’s Attorney General has suggested using a gas chamber if no adequate execution drug can be found. However, there is much hesitation surrounding such a practice. While the death penalty is already heavily frowned upon, using such a form of execution could create even more public unrest.

If one is convicted of a serious felony or any crime, per criminal defense experts, it is imperative the charges are taken seriously. A potential prison sentence, damage to reputation or fines are life-altering consequences that should not be applied unless the accused is truly deserving of the sentence.

Source: Huffington Post, “Texas Execution Drug Shortage: State Running Out Of Pentobarbital,” Michael Graczyk, August 1, 2013.