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It took more than 90 minutes for Arizona death row inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood to die this week from a lethal injection, a procedure designed to be quick and pain-free.

USA TODAY Network answers your questions about the most common form of capital punishment.

1. How many executions have been administered this year?

There have been 26 executions by lethal injection in seven states in 2014, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. This year, three, including Wood, have gained national attention for the length of time it's taken for the inmate to die.

Since the first lethal injection execution in 1982, there have been more than 1,200 executions by this method in the USA, according to the center.

2. How many states allow the death penalty?

The death penalty is legal in 32 states and by the federal government. In all, lethal injection is the primary method.

If lethal injection is not available, the electric chair is an option in eight states, the gas chamber in three states and by hanging in three states. In Oklahoma, death by firing squad is an option if lethal injection and electrocution are found unconstitutional, according to Death Penalty Information Center.

3. How does lethal injection work?

Typically, the inmate is strapped to a gurney and the executioner inserts two needles into a vein (one needle for back-up) attached to an intravenous drip. The multiple-drug cocktails are administered one at a time. In the past, the typical three-drug cocktail was first a sedative, then a muscle relaxant that would stop breathing and finally a drug that would stop the heart. Now, drug combinations vary state-by-state.

4. How long are executions supposed to last?

It should take about 10 minutes for the inmate to die, reports The Associated Press.

5. Is there a standard drug combination nationwide?

There is no national standard. Currently, states differ in the drugs they use and the dosage. They can use one, two or three drugs. There can even be differences from execution to execution in the same state.

In the past, states administered the same three-drug combination. But in 2011, the U.S. maker of one of the drugs stopped manufacturing its product in objection to its use for capital punishment. Since then, states have been forced to find new drug combinations.

6. Who administers the drugs?

States do not reveal the identity of the executioner. It could be a physician, nurse, EMT or someone else with training.

However, doctors are bound by medical ethics from participating in an execution. The American Medical Association discourages physicians from getting involved and the American Board of Anesthesiology disbars any anesthesiologist who participates in an execution.

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