If Kentucky is to continue executing Death Row inmates, it must find a new source of a drug used in lethal injections or revise the rules to substitute another drug.
The state has lost its supplier of sodium thiopental, an anesthetic used in executions.
Changing the mix of drugs used in an execution would require revising state regulations, a process that would take time and open the door for challenges by defense attorneys and anti-death penalty advocates.
The changes and challenges could take much of the year to resolve, said the Rev. Pat Delahanty, chairman of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
"I don't think there'll be executions in 2011" in Kentucky, Delahanty said.
Hospira, a Lake Forest, Ill., company, announced last week it would not resume production of sodium thiopental.