‘Drug amnesty bin’ to be located in estate

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Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership has initiated a period of public consultation to determine the siting of a ‘drug amnesty bin’ in the estate.

The secure bin, which people will be able to use to dispose of unwanted drugs, is to be located in the area as part of a new Department of Justice-funded community safety initiative, which aims to reduce the amount of drugs being held in the estate and cut the risk of drug related crimes.

“The bin will be used for local people to dispose of any unwanted drugs, which could be legal - repeat prescription drugs, drugs that are stored in cupboards and aren’t being used and controlled drugs. The bin can also be used to dispose of illegal drugs which may be found or stored in the area,” a spokesperson for the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership explained.

“The reason behind siting such a bin in the area would be to address a number of issues including reducing the risk of suicide, reducing risks of drug related burglaries/drug related crimes, improving mental health statistics and reducing the amount of drugs held in the area.

“The bin would not be used to identify anyone who is disposing of drugs; this is confidential and people using the bin would remain anonymous. The drugs deposited in the bin would be counted to ensure the bin is making a positive contribution to reducing the amount of drugs in the community.”

It’s understood that the bin will be quite small and bright in colour. It will be secured in place so that it cannot be moved easily.

Once drugs are put into the specially designed receptacle they cannot be taken out again. The bin would be emptied regularly by the PSNI.

In addition to surveys taking place within the community and consultation on the siting of the drugs bin, Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership is planning to organise a number of educational sessions with FASA in the local community to raise awareness about the initiative and answer any questions or queries in relation to having such a bin in the area.

The Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership is keen to hear what local residents think. If a drugs bin is to be situated in Rathcoole, where should be?

Residents are being asked to bear in mind that older people will need access to the bin, as well as disabled people, and therefore the location would have to be accessible for those with mobility issues.

Responses should be sent to Sara Barkley - email sbarkley@newtownabbey.gov.uk or call (028) 90 340197.