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Missouri governor halts October execution over drug controversy

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said on Friday he was halting an execution set for October 23 that was supposed to be the first ever using the drug propofol and directed the state corrections department to find another form of lethal injection.

Propofol is widely used as an anesthetic in hospitals and its potential use in executions has triggered strong opposition from the European Union, which opposes the death penalty. The union has threatened to cut off all exports of the drug if it is used for executions.

Earlier this week, the state of Missouri returned propofol to a distributor in Louisiana after it had inadvertently been sent to the state in violation of a policy by its German manufacturer.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by David Bailey)