Main Category: Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs
Article Date: 08 Oct 2010 – 1:00 PDT
New figures from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) show a sharp drop for the first time in the numbers of drug users seeking treatment for addiction to cocaine and crack.
The fall affects all age groups but is particularly marked among young adults aged 18-24, and reverses the recent trend of steadily increasing treatment demand from users of these Class A drugs.
According to an NTA report, Drug Treatment in 2009-10 which is published today, the reduction disclosed by annual treatment statistics reflects recent evidence of a decline in popularity of cocaine as scarce street supplies are cut and adulterated by dealers.
The NTA report is published alongside independent research that estimates the number of heroin addicts in England has fallen by almost 11,000 in recent years. A study by Glasgow University, commissioned by the NTA, also found the numbers of heroin and crack addicts falling fastest among young adults.
A year ago the NTA discovered a dramatic drop in demand nationally for heroin treatment among young adults aged 18-24. That fall has continued this year, and now affects the 25-29 age-group as well.
NTA Chief Executive, Paul Hayes said:
“These statistics are more than just an annual snapshot for one year, 2009-10. We now have five years’ worth of robust data from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System, so we can show some reliable trends.
“This year’s figures confirm the NTA’s claim that the ‘trainspotting generation’ that got hooked in the 1980s is growing older, fewer young people are risking getting addicted to heroin, and treatment is beginning to show an impact on drug use.
“Our priority now is to refocus the drug treatment system in England to deliver sustained recovery from addiction so that users can get off drugs altogether, start re-living their lives and contribute to their families, communities and society.”
However, just as young adults are shunning heroin, there is a small rise in treatment demand among the over-40s. As the heroin-using population gets older, some entrenched users are beginning to come into treatment for the first time.
Drug Treatment 2009-10 (see here) draws on information from:
– A Long Term Study of the Outcomes of Drug Users Leaving Treatment September 2010 (see here)
– National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) Statistical report for 2009/10 (see here)
– Prevalence estimates for England 2008/09 (Glasgow University) (see here )
National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA)