Inquest in to the fatal accident at Palmwoods in which four people died including the twin daughters and mother of Kelly Hornby. Kelly and Michael Hornby leave the Maroochydore Courthouse.
Inquest in to the fatal accident at Palmwoods in which four people died including the twin daughters and mother of Kelly Hornby. Kelly and Michael Hornby leave the Maroochydore Courthouse. Brett Wortman

Grieving dad wins drug law probe

THE State Government will review the use of a medication with the same affects as the street drug speed following an impassioned plea from the father of young twins killed in a car accident.

Health minister Geoff Wilson has asked the state’s chief medical officer to assess the prescription of dexamphetamine, a drug used by some psychiatrists to treat ADHD in adults.

In a letter to Mr Wilson this week Michael Hornby, whose daughter Grace and Jessica, 5, and their grandmother Denise Mansell were killed in an horrific crash at Woombye on May 8, 2009, called for a full review of the use of the drug in Queensland.

The driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision who also died, Anthony Thomson, had six times his prescribed dose of Dexamphetamine in his system.

Mr Hornby said yesterday that he wanted “all the rocks turned over” that may stop a recurrence of the tragedy that befell his family.

“If this guy didn’t have the drug in the quantity he did, just maybe we would still have our kids,” Mr Hornby said.

“There is no way we are trying to demean Anthony Thomson.

“This is an issue for the state.”

Mr Hornby wants Queensland legislation that allows psychiatrists to prescribe the drug as they see fit, to be brought into line with NSW and Tasmania which restrict prescription to 30 mg per day.

The drug is used by some psychiatrists in the treatment of adult ADHD.

Mental health professionals told the Daily yesterday that it can produce a “manic-like” state in users that requires other medication to slow them down.

A GP said Dexamphetamine had been known to be crushed and injected by users or converted to illegal drugs ecstasy, Fantasy and methamphetamine.

Users have presented at Nambour General Hospital after overdosing on the drug after injecting it.

The Sunshine Coast Daily has received documentation that showed a check list of symptoms addicts feign including those critical to an adult ADHD diagnosis that would lead to the prescription of the drug.

Mr Hornby said he could not believe that legislation was state-based and differed markedly between states. NSW restricted prescription of the drug in 2000.

“We are one country but the fact that every state has different laws for so many things has blown me away,” Mr Hornby said.

“It’s not just Dexamphetamine, its a range of issues. But I believe the use of Dexamphetamine is out of control. NSW and Tasmania have the same rules. It’s time Queensland looked at changing. There are reports (Professor Perminder S .Sachdev for The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists) that show anything over 35 mg a day is a waste of time. Here it is prescribed in any amount. That could enable it to be on sold to drug addicts. I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case but I’m sure it happens.”

Mr Hornby said he was not saying that he was right in wanting the legislation changed but that he wanted all the issues closely examined.

“This is a very tragic case,” the health minister said last night.

“An appeal from a father in these circumstances should always be heard, and I have taken it seriously. If there is anything that should be done to stop something like this happening again, I want to make sure it is done.

“I’ve sought advice from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, and she has advised me that in Queensland - like in NSW, Tasmania and the rest of Australia - specialist clinicians can prescribe this drug in the dose they consider medically appropriate. The Chief Health Officer has advised that it is sometimes appropriate for specialist doctors to prescribe higher doses, and that can be done safely.

“Obviously, we want specialist doctors to be able to form expert judgements about what’s best for people, and for them to weigh the best treatment with any side-effects.

“However, I want to learn more about this. I have asked the Chief Health Officer to take a closer look at this issue. In particular, I want to learn whether there would be any impact on patients’ well-being if we stopped people from receiving higher doses, and whether it would in fact be effective in reducing side-effects.”



JT recalls most memorable on-field moment

premium_icon JT recalls most memorable on-field moment

'To be a part of it was massive and no one can take that away'

REVEALED: Inside the courtroom before the murder trial ended

premium_icon REVEALED: Inside the courtroom before the murder trial ended

MOMENTS leading up to the abrupt end to Martinez and Barnett trial

Urgent plea to help find 'the child Australia forgot'

Urgent plea to help find 'the child Australia forgot'

Wanted man has slipped through the hands of police at least 3 times

Local Partners