Northern Ireland

Six more 'sharps disposal boxes' for drug users

Sharps Image copyright Belfast City Council
Image caption Sharps boxes in Lombard Street and Winetavern Street

Belfast City Council has said it plans to install six more needle bins to allow injecting drug users to safely dispose of used syringes.

The move comes after an increase in syringe finds.

The Belfast Telegraph reported the "sharps disposal boxes" will be placed in public toilets in Belfast.

The first box was installed in the Dublin Road at the end of 2014. Since then, five more have been put in public toilets.

They are in Custom House Square, Winetavern Street, Lombard Street, the Ormeau Road and the Antrim Road.

When all six are rolled out, 12 of the 14 public toilets in Belfast will have sharps disposal facilities.

Image caption The first needle bin in Belfast was installed at the public toilet on the Dublin Road

The needle bins are small silver plaques sited on the wall with the words "sharps disposal" on them.

There is a hole in the middle to allow people to dispose of used needles in a secure container.

The issue was raised at a meeting of the People and Communities Committee in April.

The council minutes said the increase in boxes was down to an increase in sharps finds.

It said that the BBC had reported that the Council's "Needle Exchange Programme" witnessed an increase in visits in four years, from 7,500 to just under 15,000.

Following this increase in sharps finds, the council "liaised with their contracted service providers and other public bodies on an ongoing basis to take measures to counteract this behaviour".

The council said that work is ongoing to install the remaining six boxes throughout 2017-2018.

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