‘RAPID’ly tackling drugs

Representatives from PSNI, Tesco, MEA PCSP, PHA and NDACT who are behind the first drugs bin for Mid and East Antrim
Representatives from PSNI, Tesco, MEA PCSP, PHA and NDACT who are behind the first drugs bin for Mid and East Antrim

A new bin to safely and anonymously dump prescription and illegal drugs is being installed in Ballymena.

This is the first RAPID (Remove All Prescription and Illegal Drugs) bin to be installed in the Mid and Eat Antroim borough and is located at the town’s Tesco.

RAPID was initially piloted in 2010 and due to their success, are now installed throughout Northern Ireland.

In that time, 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.

The scheme could be rolled out to other locations and Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) have been working alongside the PSNI, Public Health Agency (PHA) and the local Drug and Alcohol Coordination Team (DACT) to get more businesses to take part.

Speaking about the initiative, Councillor Paul Sinclair, Chairperson of Mid and East Antrim PCSP, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in supporting this initiative in Ballymena. The PCSP are working hard to support all our citizens who may be dealing with addiction in whatever form.

“In the coming weeks we will again be delivering our #StopTheTrend campaign to raise awareness of the support services available across the borough, particularly in relation to the misuse of drugs, which continues to be an issue affecting many of our citizens. 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 Tesco in Ballymena for supporting us in delivering this initiative.”

PSNI Chief Inspector Stephen Humphries said: “The introduction of these disposal bins provides an effective way for drugs and harmful substances to be removed from our community. This initiative provides a real opportunity to reduce the availability of drugs and criminal activity often associated with drug use and by working together we are giving a clear indication that we do not want drugs on our streets.”

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.”

Kathleen Grego of 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.”