An initiative has been launched by the Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership for the safe disposal of drugs.
The Rathcoole RAPID drugs bin is located in the Spar shop at The Diamond.
Speaking at the launch, Newtownabbey Mayor Alderman Thomas Hogg said that alcohol and drug misuse is “one of the biggest public health and societal issues facing Northern Ireland today.”
He added: “There are huge problems, suffering and tragedy that drug misuse causes to individuals, families and communities across Northern Ireland.
“A new direction is required to address these issues and to help local communities prevent and deal with misuse of drugs.”
PSNI Sector Inspector Stephen McGuigan said: “Local police were delighted to be able to provide funding through the Assets Recovery Incentivisation Scheme for the Rathcoole Rapid Drugs Bin.
“This joint endeavour with FASA; the Henderson Group; CAST (Community Action Support Team) and Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership will allow for the safe disposal of illegal drugs, unused prescription pills and psycho-active substances or so-called ‘legal-highs’.”
Insp McGuigan explained: “These items can be deposited anonymously by anyone - concerned parents, young people or any person in possession of drugs which they believe have the potential to cause harm. By disposing of the drugs in the bin, local people are ensuring they are permanently removed from their community.
“The safe bin will be emptied regularly by police and the substances removed for destruction. The harmful consequences of drugs, even prescription drugs, falling into the wrong hands cannot be emphasised enough.
“By launching this ‘Rapid Drugs Bin’ we are working together with the community to help remove the scourge of drugs and keep people safe.”
The Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership says it is vitally important for the local community to play a part in ensuring that the drugs bin is used. FASA will keep the community informed about the drugs that are being disposed of in the bin.
Education awareness events will take place in August and September to highlight the advantages of the drugs bin, and at these sessions any questions in relation to the bin will be addressed.
For further information on the education sessions, contact Sara Barkley, Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal co-ordinator, on 028 9034 0197.