The third RAPID (Remove All Prescription and Illegal Drugs) bin in Mid and East Antrim has been launched in the Asda store in Larne.
Two other RAPID bins are located in Ballymena Health Centre on the Cushendall Road and Tesco on the Larne Road, Ballymena.
The initiative known as RAPID, is aimed at helping to remove prescription and illegal drugs from our streets by providing drug disposal bins.
RAPID was initially piloted in 2010 and due to the success of the joint health and community safety initiative, further bins have been installed throughout Northern Ireland in partnership with key statutory, community and voluntary groups.
Since 2010, over 100,000 tablets have been deposited in Belfast RAPID bins alone.
Ninety per cent of the drugs handed in are prescription or over the counter medicines but illegal drugs have also been deposited.
Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and PSNI have been working closely with the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the local Drug and Alcohol Coordination Team (DACT) to identify and work with communities and businesses within their catchment areas to benefit from taking part in the initiative and having a RAPID drug disposal bin installed.
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey, said: ““We’re delighted to be involved in supporting this initiative in Larne.
“The PCSP are working hard to support all our citizens who may be dealing with addiction in whatever form.
“The RAPID bin provides an invaluable opportunity for anyone to dispose safely and anonymously of any unused or discarded drugs both legal and illegal.
“We are extremely grateful to Asda in Larne for supporting us in delivering this initiative.”
Speaking about the initiative, PCSP Chairperson, Cllr Danny Donnelly, added: ““The increase in availability of these bins will continue to help combat the illegal use of drugs and prescription medication within our local communities.
“The overall aim of the RAPID initiative is to reduce risk at individual, family and community level in relation to drug use and availability.
“The RAPID bin reduces the level of drugs in our local communities by providing a means for people to dispose of prescription or illegal drugs safely and discreetly.”
Neighbourhood Inspector Colin Ash said: “This initiative is an effective way for harmful substances to be removed from our community. Previously such items could easily have been dumped in street bins or domestic bins, thereby posing a potential serious danger to other members of the public. I would encourage continued use of the bins in our communities.”
Jayne McConaghie, Senior Officer for Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement at the PHA, said: “Alcohol and drug misuse is a common issue and sadly causes suffering and tragedy to individuals, families and communities.
“This is a simple, but powerful health intervention, and we very much welcome the installation of the new RAPID bin in Mid and East Antrim. All of the partners are keen that this joint initiative is expanded over the coming years with further bins installed, enabling more people and communities to learn more about the risks and dangers of drug misuse and to dispose of unwanted drugs easily and discreetly.”
RAPID has three aims:
- Removal of prescription, illegal and new psychoactive substances.
- Provision of information and support to individuals, families, local businesses and community organisations to raise awareness of the effects and risks of using/misusing illegal and/or prescription drugs.
- Bringing together community and statutory agencies, local businesses and the general public under the RAPID initiative to work towards making their local community a safer place to live.
Kathleen Grego of the Northern DACT Connections Service said: “We are proud to be involved in the RAPID partnership and we welcome the further roll out of the bins in the Mid and East Antrim area. I have no doubt they will be a great success.”
For more information on existing RAPID bins or how to contact your local DACT or PCSP visit www.drugsandalcoholni.info/RAPID