Story highlights

The state cites difficulties getting the necessary drugs

Ohio is changing the drugs used for lethal injections

The next execution in Ohio is now set for January 2017

(CNN) —  

Ohio delayed the scheduled executions of a dozen inmates on Monday, citing difficulties getting the necessary drugs.

The next execution in Ohio is now set for January 2017, according to a release from the state’s Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC).

“DRC continues to seek all legal means to obtain the drugs necessary to carry out court ordered executions, but over the past few years it has become exceedingly difficult to secure those drugs because of severe supply and distribution restrictions,” the release read. “The new dates are designed to provide DRC additional time necessary to secure the required execution drugs.”

Earlier this year, Ohio announced that it would delay the executions of seven death row inmates while searching for an adequate supply of drugs that complies with its new execution protocol.

The state decided to stop using the two-drug regimen of midazolam and hydromorphone.

That drug combination was last used in January 2014 on convicted murderer Dennis McGuire. Witnesses said he convulsed and gasped about 10 minutes before he died.

The McGuire execution was closely watched because midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller, had never been used in a U.S. execution.

Ohio, like many states, was forced to find new execution drugs after European-based manufacturers banned U.S. prisons from using their drugs in executions – among them, Danish-based Lundbeck, which manufactures pentobarbital.

Ohio said in early January that it would add thiopental sodium, a drug the state used for lethal injections from 1999-2011. Thiopental sodium and pentobarbital will be the only drugs used.

CNN’s Rashard Rose and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.