‘RAPID’ action to tackle drugs

Pictured at the launch of RAPID (Remove All Prescription and Illegal Drugs) is Kelly Gilliland from PHA and Liam Ennis from the PSNI. (Submitted Pic).
Pictured at the launch of RAPID (Remove All Prescription and Illegal Drugs) is Kelly Gilliland from PHA and Liam Ennis from the PSNI. (Submitted Pic).

Like many towns in Northern Ireland, Ballymena and Antrim have had their share of drugs problems and issues such as drug related crime.

In fact, in recent years, Ballymena has been dubbed “the drugs capital of the North”.

However, a new initiative aimed at tackling drugs on our streets is to be rolled out right across Northern Ireland which could help the town ‘rubbish’ that moniker.

Known as RAPID (Remove All Prescription and Illegal Drugs), this new initiative is helping to remove illegal and prescription drugs from our streets by providing drug disposal bins.

There are currently 14 bins, sited mainly in the Belfast, South Eastern and Northern Health and Social Care Trust areas and to-date over 65,000 tablets (over 90% of which have been prescription drugs) have been removed from our streets.

Public Health Agency (PHA) and the PSNI will be working closely with local Drug & Alcohol Coordination Teams and Policing & Community Safety Partnerships to identify and work with local communities and businesses who may benefit from taking part in the initiative and having a RAPID disposal bin installed.

Kelly Gilliland, Senior Health Improvement Officer at PHA, said: “All of the partners are keen that it is further developed and expanded over coming years to install further bins across Northern Ireland, 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.

“The bins provide a safe way for anyone to dispose of drugs whether they are prescribed or illegal simply by dropping them into the box. Items can be deposited anonymously by anyone – be it parents, young people or any person in possession of drugs,” she said.