New Drug Disposal Bin at Springhill in Bangor

Monday 23rd December 2019

A drug disposal bin has been installed at Tesco, Springhill, as part of a joint initiative to help remove prescription and illegal drugs from our streets.

Drugs disposal bin in Tesco shopping centre at Springhill, Bangor

The ‘Remove All Prescription and Illegal Drugs’ (RAPID) scheme is a joint initiative between Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Policing and Safety Community Partnership (PCSP), the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Public Health Agency.

The new bin is located inside the shopping centre and enables the safe and anonymous removal of illegal and prescription drugs.

Welcoming the initiative to Tesco Springhill, the Vice Chair of Ards and North Down PCSP, Irene Boyd, said:

"The RAPID bin can go some way towards protecting people from the harm caused by the misuse of prescription drugs and illegal drugs. The misuse of prescription drugs and drugs purchased online is having a negative impact on our communities. This confidential service can enable people to protect themselves and their families from this harm.”

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, and since April 2019, almost 9,000 prescription tablets and an amount of cocaine has been collected from bins within Ards and North Down.

Superintendent Brian Kee, District Commander for Ards and North Down, said:

“The introduction of these drugs disposal bins provides an effective way for drugs and harmful substances to be removed from our community. Anyone, whether they be parents, grandparents, siblings or family members, can dispose of items which they believe have the potential to cause harm. By working together, we are giving a clear indication that we do not want drugs on our streets. This initiative provides a real opportunity to reduce the availability of drugs and criminal activity often associated with drug use.”

Marty McCann of the South Eastern DACT Connections Service said:

“Alcohol and drug use is a common issue and sadly causes suffering and tragedy to individuals, families and communities. We are delighted to be involved in the RAPID partnership and we welcome the further roll out of the bins in the Ards and North Down area, enabling more people and communities to learn more about the risks and dangers of drug use and to dispose of unwanted drugs easily and discreetly.”

The PSNI’s Inspector Jonny Francey, a member of the PCSP’s Drugs Sub Group, added:

“Police are working hard with the communities in Ards and North Down along with other statutory agencies such as the Public Health Agency to remove illicit and dangerous substances from our streets. Not only are we targeting street type drugs but it must be remembered that even prescription medicine in the wrong hands presents a major health risk to individuals. Abused substances not only affect the lives of users but the quality of life of families and the community in which they live. RAPID is about removing potentially harmful substances from our community."