Stilnox is a controversial drug commonly used as a sleeping tablet but which has been associated with adverse reactions in some users.

Stilnox is a controversial drug commonly used as a sleeping tablet but which has been associated with adverse reactions in some users. Photo: Nick Moir

ONE of Victoria's most experienced homicide detectives has questioned whether the sleeping drug Stilnox contributed to the death of Melbourne woman Phoebe Handsjuk, who died after plunging 12 storeys inside the garbage chute of a St Kilda Road apartment building in 2010.

In a report prepared for the Coroner, Detective Sergeant Sol Solomon says that expert pharmacologists should be consulted on whether Stilnox can lead to ''severe neuropsychiatric reactions'', particularly when combined with alcohol.

Stilnox is a controversial drug commonly used as a sleeping tablet but which has been associated with adverse reactions in some users.

''For the peace of mind of Ms Handsjuk's family and as a matter of public safety, I recommend further inquiries be made,'' Sergeant Solomon says in his report.

In a review of the death prepared for the Coroner, Sergeant Solomon supports the initial finding of the homicide squad that the death was suicide. However, last week Ms Handsjuk's family, including her grandfather, a retired detective, asked the Coroner to hold a full inquiry to examine whether the 24-year-old was murdered.

Lawyers for the family have prepared submissions for the Coroner outlining several anomalies over the manner of her death, including the difficulty of the woman entering the small garbage chute by herself and evidence that suggests someone interfered with the chute's settings.

Coroner Peter White has requested that police make further inquiries but has reserved his judgment on whether a full inquest will be held.

Ms Handsjuk was found dead on December 2, 2010, on the floor of the garbage compactor room at Balencea Apartments. She had been suffering depression and had been drinking and taking prescription sleeping medication.