‘A real opportunity to reduce the availability of drugs’

Pictured at the launch of the drugs disposal bin initiative  in Glenavy are Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh PCSP, Cllr Aaron McIntyre (front right) with (l-r) Cllr Thomas Beckett; Pauline Leeson, independent member of PCSP; Rev John Farr, Vice Chairman of Glenavy Partnership; Sergeant Fergus Lockhart; Pamela Quiery, ASCERT; Alderman James Tinsley and Cllr Christine Robb.
Pictured at the launch of the drugs disposal bin initiative in Glenavy are Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh PCSP, Cllr Aaron McIntyre (front right) with (l-r) Cllr Thomas Beckett; Pauline Leeson, independent member of PCSP; Rev John Farr, Vice Chairman of Glenavy Partnership; Sergeant Fergus Lockhart; Pamela Quiery, ASCERT; Alderman James Tinsley and Cllr Christine Robb.

The RAPID (Remove All Prescription and Illegal Drugs) initiative, which is helping to take prescription and illegal drugs off the streets by providing drugs disposal bins, has been launched in Glenavy.

The new bin in Glenavy, which is attached to the wall of the youth club on Belfast Road, brings the total number of drugs disposal bins in the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area to four. The others are located at LaganView Enterprise Centre, Lisburn, Rowan Drive, Seymourhill and the Spar Shop, Upper Newtownards Road, Dundonald.

RAPID was initially piloted in 2010 but due to the success of the initiative further bins have been installed throughout Northern Ireland in partnership with key statutory, community and voluntary groups.

Over the past eight years, more than 100,000 items have been deposited in RAPID bins. Ninety per cent of the drugs handed in are prescription or over the counter medicines, but illegal drugs have also been deposited.

Lisburn & Castlereagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and the PSNI have been working closely with the Public Health Agency (PHA) and local South Eastern Drug and Alcohol Coordination Team (SEDACT) 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.

Speaking about the initiative, Lisburn and Castlereagh PCSP Chairman, Councillor Aaron McIntyre said: “I welcome the installation of this bin in Glenavy which was initiated by the local community. We are all aware of the dangers of illegal drugs and the effects that these have in communities but prescribed drugs can equally be as dangerous in the wrong hands or if taken with other substances.

“I would urge the community to make use of this new facility in Glenavy. This initiative is designed to dispose of prescribed and illegal drugs safely.”

PSNI District Commander for Lisburn and Castlereagh, Superintendent Sean Wright commented: “The introduction of this drugs disposal bin should prove to be an effective way for drugs and harmful substances to be removed from the community. It will provide a channel for individuals, whether they are concerned parents, grandparents, siblings or family members to dispose of items which they believe have the potential to cause harm, completely anonymously.

“By allowing the public to dispose of prescription and illegal drugs in the accessible bins the amount of drugs available on the streets will be reduced.

“By working together, we are all giving a clear sign to those involved with drugs that we do not want them on the streets. This will provide a real opportunity to reduce the availability of drugs and crimes often associated with drug use.”

Glenavy Community Partnership Chairperson and local youth worker, Daryl Mirza said: “Initiatives such as the drugs disposal bin are a great addition to Glenavy. This bin will help get drugs off our streets and make our community a lot safer.

“The discreet location of the bin will allow all members of the community to anonymously dispose of unwanted drugs and the supporting promotional drive will raise awareness of the risks and harms misusing drugs can have on individuals, their families and the wider community.”

Danny Sinclair, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer at the PHA, added: “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 Glenavy.

“All of the partners are keen that the RAPID initiative is further developed and expanded over coming years with further bins installed, enabling more people and communities to learn more about the risks and dangers of drugs 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.

Marty McCann, key worker for the South Eastern DACT Connections Service said: “We are delighted to be involved in the RAPID partnership and we welcome the further roll out of the bins in the Lisburn & Castlereagh area. I have no doubt they will be a great success.”

For more information log on to www.drugsandalcoholni.info/RAPID