Grieving parents Kelly and Michael Hornby.
Grieving parents Kelly and Michael Hornby.

Hornbys' drug law fight to pay off

A GRIEVING Sunshine Coast family's campaign for tougher drug prescribing laws looks set to lead to tighter control in Queensland.

Michael and Kelly Hornby successfully appealed to Health Minister Geoff Wilson for a review of dexamphetamine prescription rates after their twin five-year-olds Grace and Jessica and the twins' grandmother Denise Mansell were killed in an horrific crash at Woombye in 2009.

Anthony Thompson, the driver of the other vehicle, who also died, was found to have excessive quantities of the prescription medication in his system.

A review of current policy by Queensland's Chief Medical Officer found Queensland to have the toughest laws of any state.

However a raft of recommendations that have come out of the process will improve monitoring of prescription trends, bring greater consistency to prescribing levels and improve inter-agency analysis of information.

Mr Wilson has instructed Queensland Health to discuss the findings and recommendations with the Hornbys.

"The Minister does not consider the matter is finalised without that important feedback from the Hornbys," a spokesman said.

"Queensland Health has attempted to arrange that discussion with the family, and once it has happened the outcomes will be presented to the Minister."

The Hornbys are on an around-Australia trip with their surviving offspring and Kelly's father, who was widowed by the crash.

Queensland Health has recommended that the Drug Dependency Unit collaborate with the Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drug Directorate to develop Queensland recommendations and guidelines on the appropriate use of psycho stimulant drugs to facilitate consistent practice.

It also wants the DDU to prepare annual reports of patterns of psycho stimulant drug and prescription consumption for stakeholders to inform them of population-wide patterns of use and trends.

One doctor who spoke to the Daily said better inter-agency sharing of existing information could have saved the Hornby twins.

"The issue in essence is that the Coroner and the monitoring system have missed the point. It is essential to identify and deal with aberrant prescribers and also to ensure that drug abusers do not get drugs of abuse," he said.

"The system in place is as sophisticated and modern as the Titanic was in its day, with people at the helm, similarly, who have just as arrogant a disregard for common sense."

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