Today, a main issue in capital punishment is the shortage of sodium thiopental, one of three drugs that was used in most lethal injections. In the past, Hospira, a domestic pharmaceutical company, had provided the drug to correctional facilities. However, when Hospira stopped its distribution in 2011, death penalty states rushed to find alternatives. This paper will explore this drug shortage and the responses to the shortage by death penalty states. The reader will understand the function of the death penalty in the American criminal justice system, the reasons for the shortage of sodium thiopental, the consequences of the shortage, and states’ responses to the shortage. Proof of references are attached at the end of the thesis.