550 drugs items left in RAPID bin

550 drugs items left in RAPID bin

31 March 2021

A DEDICATED disposal bin to help people safely get rid of preion and illegal drugs in Downpatrick has been filled with 550 items.

The news has been confirmed by the district’s Policing and Community Safety Partnership with the figure relating to a so-called prescription and illegal drugs (RAPID) bin located at the Ballymote Centre on the outskirts of the town.

The provision of the bin is an initiative in partnership with the PSNI and ASCERT, a charity that promotes and facilitates the removal of such drugs.

Since the scheme’s launch across the Newry, Mourne and Down Council area, 40,000 items have been placed in bins in Downpatrick, Newry, Kilkeel, Camlough and Killeavy since its launch last year.

The bin at the Ballymote shopping centre is one of a number which have been located across the Newry, Mourne and Down Council area with plans to provide a number of others in the near future to help combat a worrying drugs issue.

Additional bins are to be provided at the Shimna Road car park in Newcastle, the Irish Street car park in Downpatrick, Saintfield’s Downpatrick Street car park, Killyleagh’s Bridge Centre and the Windmill Street car park in Ballynahinch.

A new bin was recently provided at Brennan’s garage in Dundrum and it has also been confirmed that discussions are ongoing to provide more of the dedicated bibs in at  Saintfield Health Centre and at other locations in Newcastle and Castlewellan.

However, approaches to a number of businesses in Downpatrick to provide RAPIB bins close  to their respective premises was refused.

The various agencies involved in what is proving to be a very successful initiative, say the aim is to reduce risk at individual, family and community levels in relation to drug use and availability by providing a means to dispose of any drugs people may have which they would like to ensure are out of harm’s way.

The so-called RAPID bins are viewed as key weapons in the battle against drugs and to provide people with an opportunity to get get rid of them in a safe and anonymous way.

Politicians have welcomed the support of business owners who have allowed bins to be provided outside their premises for the safe disposal of illegal drugs and unused prescription medications within the community.

They say the key principle behind the RAPID bins is to tackle the growing issue of drugs in communities and to allow individuals to safely dispose of illegal drugs and unused prescription medication.

And with work ongoing to identify additional locations for the dedicated bins, politicians hope that more people will be encouraged to safely get rid of prescription and illegal drugs.

Rowallane councillor Billy Walker said he is pleased that his home town of Killyleagh is regarded as a “priority site” for a new bin, with work continuing to identify a suitable location.

“This particular initiative has been very successful and great credit to all those involved,” he continued.

“By making RAPID bins more accessible provides an opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted drugs and the fact that over 40,000 have been placed in bins across the district highlights the success of this scheme.”

Cllr Walker said the provision of more bins will encourage greater usage and go some way towards

helping tackle the growing issue of drugs in communities.

He added: “Proving a mechanism to allow individuals to safely dispose of illegal drugs and unused prescription medication in a safe and anonymous way has been a success. The more bins that are placed across the district the more successful this initiative will be.

“Lives can be ruined by using illegal drugs and the more of these that can be taken off the streets the better. The bins are clearly being used which is good news for individuals, families and communities.”

Further information on existing RAPID bins is available by emailing the PCSP at pcsp@nmandd.org.