A SECURE disposal bin that was installed in the city centre to reduce drug-related litter saw more than 5000 items deposited in its first six months.  

The needle drop box, the first of its kind in the city, is located on New Wynd near the busiest needle exchange in the greater Glasgow area.  

It allows people who are injecting drugs away from home to safely dispose of needles and syringes. 

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(Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

The Glasgow Times previously reported the bin was installed in May last year with the area chosen because it was known to have a high level of drug-related litter.  

John Campbell, Injecting Equipment Provision (IEP) manager at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, says the trial period for the bin has gone “very well”.  

The bin contains a 60-liter container which is emptied frequently with the contents measured each time. 

John said: “That’s [5000 items] more than we would have hoped, it’s really quite high.  

“In August, there were over 1000 items disposed of within the bin and there were only 133 items discarded within the vicinity. 

“So, it definitely appears to be hitting the mark in relation to where it’s sited. 

“I'm really really pleased. I think it’s went very well.” 

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John Campbell, IEP manager at NHSGGC, and Campbell Bern, alcohol and drug development officer at GCC (Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

John says he can understand why some people may have been sceptical before the bin was installed but he is happy to see how the local community has benefitted from it and says cleansing staff have also found it to be helpful. 

He said: “There was a little bit of turbulence when we first spoke about the bin even though it was to benefit the community at large but that turbulence has levelled out now and it seems to be an accepted initiative by the clients that are actually using it and the community where its sited. 

“I would view that as really positive.”  

(Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

There are now hopes that more needle drug bins could be introduced in key areas across the city as needed.  

Each month, call outs for discarded injecting equipment and cleansing data from uplifting needles are mapped out to identify hot spots.  

John said: “We needed evidence to highlight this was going to work so that gives up scope now to use that almost as a tool to respond to areas where there may be an increase in discarded injecting equipment or if there’s been a problem with it previously.” 

SNP cllr Allan Casey, who is in charge of addictions policy, said: “I am glad to see that the introduction of our trial public needle bin has been so successful. To know it has collected more than 5000 items since it was located last year shows us just how much of a necessity it is for those affected by public injecting.  

“Its successful deployment has been welcomed not just by those using the bin but the wider community and our cleansing staff also as we are reducing the risk to the wider public by providing this safe disposal space.  

“I am really hopeful that we can successfully identify other locations where public drug use is prevalent now that we have the evidence to show it can and does reduce the level of discarded drug paraphernalia.” 

The bin is one of a range of measures that have been implemented in recent years, such as single-use injecting packs, water for injecting and foil as an alternative to needles for people using heroin, to reduce drug-related litter in the city. 

A safer drug consumption facility is also set to open towards the end of summer.