|Addiction: 5% of drug |
users receiving treatment
last year were addicted
to powder cocaine. 49%
used opiates like heroin
while 32% used opiates
The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) said the number of people addicted to class A drugs fell from 62,963 in 2008/09 to 52,933 last year.
The figures also recorded the number of drug users who have been treated successfully and are getting their lives back on track rose by almost a fifth last year.
Some 27,969 users were classed as recovering in 2010/11, a rise of 18% on the previous financial year and 150% higher than 11,208 in 2005/06.
There was also a sharp fall in the number of addicts under 30 over the last five years, fuelled by the number of 18 to 24-year-olds seeking treatment for heroin and crack addiction halving from 12,320 in 2005/06 to 6,108 last year.
The figures also showed that, of the 255,556 people who entered a drugs treatment programme since April 2005 for the first time, 28% (71,887) successfully completed the course and did not need further treatment.
Paul Hayes, the NTA's chief executive, said the figures, which apply to adults in England only, showed 'recovery is now becoming a reality for more individuals each year'.
'More drug users are recovering from addiction, fewer need treatment, and more are getting over their addiction quickly,' he said.
'The fact that the next generation are getting the message that hard drugs wreak damage to individuals and communities is very positive, for them and the rest of society.'
Speaking during a briefing at the Department of Health in Whitehall, Mr Hayes said that, while the figures 'give cause for optimism', they indicate 'that it's a trend that's moving in the right direction'.
'I think what it shows is that we've probably passed the high watermark of the impact of epidemic of the late '80s and early '90s and that younger groups of people are reluctant to begin patterns of behaviour - heroin and crack use in this instance - that they've seen cause damage to their older siblings, people in their community, sometimes, sadly their mums and dads.
'They realise the consequences of heroin and crack use and they're turning their backs on that.'
|ONS figures: The number of former users left drug-free after treatment has risen every year since 2005|
|Primary drug used by addicts treated in 2010 to 2011|
|Men aged 30 to 34 years old made up the highest proportion of people receiving treatment for drug abuse|