NEW INITIATIVE TO TACKLE DRUGS ON OUR STREETS
An initiative known as RAPID (Remove All Prescription and Illegal Drugs), which is helping to remove illegal and prescription drugs from our streets by providing drug disposal bins, is to be rolled out across Northern Ireland after a successful pilot. This new initiative is just the latest in a wide range of coordinated action across agencies to reduce harm from the misuse of alcohol and drugs.
Kelly Gilliland, Senior Health Improvement Officer at the PHA, said: “Alcohol and drug misuse is a common issue and causes suffering and ill health to individuals, families and communities in Northern Ireland.
“The RAPID initiative was initially piloted in 2010, and due to its success, as a joint health and community safety initiative, 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.”
- Removal of prescription, illegal and new psychoactive substances (often referred to as ‘legal highs’ and now illegal following the introduction of the Psychoactive Substances Act in May 2016) from communities.
- 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.
“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 that have the potential to cause harm. By disposing of the drugs in the bin, they are permanently and securely removing them from potential misuse. The harmful consequences of drugs, even prescription drugs, falling into the wrong hands cannot be emphasised enough.”
PSNI Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton said: “Having been involved in developing and trialing this partnership initiative from the initial pilot phase, we wholeheartedly support the regional expansion of RAPID and its aim of supporting the removal of illegal and prescription drugs from our streets.
“We are committed to protecting communities and we will continue to work together with local residents, community and elected representatives and partner agencies to tackle the issue of drugs on our streets.”
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