Initiative to tackle drugs on our streets being rolled out in Fermanagh and Omagh

Wednesday, 5 July 2017 – Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement
Initiative to tackle drugs on our streets being rolled out in Fermanagh and Omagh

An initiative known as RAPID (Remove All Prescription and Illegal Drugs), which is helping to remove prescription and illegal drugs from our streets by providing drug disposal bins, is to be launched in Fermanagh and Omagh following a successful pilot. 

The addition of these three bins in the Fermanagh and Omagh district will bring the total number of bins in Northern Ireland to 21. Over 65,000 tablets (over 90% of which have been prescription drugs) have been removed from our streets through this project. 

The Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have been working closely with local Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams (DACTs) and Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs) 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 bins installed.  

Cathy Mullan, Senior Health Improvement Officer at the PHA, said: “Alcohol and drug misuse is a common issue and causes suffering and tragedy 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.” 

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. 

“We very much welcome the installation of the new RAPID bins in Supervalu, Omagh, the Arc Healthy Living Centre in Irvinestown and Rooney’s Eurospar in Enniskillen. The RAPID initiative provides a safe way for anyone to dispose of drugs whether they are prescribed or illegal,” Cathy added.

Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership(PCSP), Cllr John Coyle said:  “Should anyone possess, or come across, unwanted or unused drugs, I would encourage them  to place them in the most convenient RAPID bin safely and discreetly, enabling police to then dispose of them. 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. The PCSP, PHA,PSNI ,ASCERT and Fermanagh drug and alcohol forums have worked in partnership to bring about this initiative and I have no doubt the RAPID bins will help make the community safer for us all ”

Alison Armstrong ASCERT Service Manager who manages the Western DACT Connections Service said: “ASCERT is delighted to be involved in the RAPID partnership and we welcome the further roll out of the bins in the Omagh and Fermanagh areas. I have no doubt they will be a great success.”

For more information on existing RAPID bins and/or how to contact your local Drug and Alcohol Coordination Team (DACT) and/or Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) to express an interest visit www.drugsandalcoholni.info/RAPID 

Notes to the editor

Pic caption (L-R): Sgt Scott Fallis, PSNI; Cathy Mullan, Public Health Agency; Peter McLaughlin, WDACT Connections; Councillor John Coyle, Chair, Fermanagh & Omagh PCSP