Disposal bins yield thousands of drugs in north west

unbranded pills
Image caption The RAPID scheme launched in 2010 and was expanded to the north west in September

More than 6,000 prescription and illegal drugs have been dumped in the first six weeks of a disposal scheme in the north west.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) said the majority of drugs disposed of have been prescription medications.

Cannabis with an estimated street value of £4,000 has also been dumped in one of the Remove All Prescription and Illegal Drugs initiative (RAPID) bins.

The bins allow people to dispose of drugs anonymously.

Eight amnesty bins were installed in Londonderry and Strabane in mid-September.

"The Public Health Agency is pleased that the RAPID bins in the north west are providing a safe and discreet method of disposal for illegal and prescription drugs in the community", the PHA's Denise McCallion said.

'Tragedy to individuals, families and communities'

"Drug misuse, involving both illegal and prescription drugs, is sadly a common issue and causes suffering and tragedy to individuals, families and communities," she added.

The RAPID scheme launched in Belfast in 2010 and there are more than 30 bins located across Northern Ireland.

More than 150,000 tablets have been disposed of since the scheme began.

Ms McCallion said the bins are placed in "a discreet place so tablets can still be disposed of anonymously" within communities.

The PHA said Diazepam, Pregabalin, Tramadol, Co-codamol and Codeine are among the most common drugs to have been dumped in RAPID bins.

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