propofol*(Via CBS News) – The same anesthetic that caused the overdose death of pop star Michael Jackson is now the drug of choice for executions in Missouri, causing a stir among critics who question how the state can guarantee a drug untested for lethal injection won’t cause pain and suffering for the condemned.

Last week the Missouri Department of Corrections announced it was switching from its longstanding three-drug method to use of a single drug, propofol. Missouri would be the first state ever to use propofol as an execution drug.

“This is very, very concerning with a drug that we don’t know, and seeing the problems of the one-drug method,” said Kathleen Holmes of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

Until recently, the 33 states with the death penalty used a virtually identical three-drug process: Sodium thiopental was administered to put the inmate to sleep, then two other drugs stopped the heart and lungs. But makers of sodium thiopental have stopped selling it for use in executions. Supplies mostly ran out or expired, forcing states to consider alternatives.

Read/learn more at CBS News.