Over 29,000 people have recovered from addiction using drug treatment, figures from Public Health England (PHE) show.
According to the latest annual adult statistics, specialist services were easy to access for people who need help, with 98% waiting under three weeks to get into treatment.
In 2012/13, the overall number of people in treatment continued to fall, as did the number of people starting treatment for heroin and crack cocaine, especially in younger people.
PHE claims these trends show an overall decline in drug use and a move away from the most problematic substances.
Over 40s are now the largest group starting and receiving treatment. Many older heroin users are “hard to help” into lasting recovery because of entrenched addition problems.
PHE believes services need to adapt and respond effectively to changing patterns in drug use and the needs of the wider population, such as those who get into problems with new psychoactive substances and prescription medicines.
Rosanna O’Connor, PHE director of alcohol and drugs said: “Drug misuse is by its nature a highly challenging issue to address and the indications are that the going is getting even tougher for services in meeting the needs of an evolving and increasingly complex treatment population.
“However, treatment cannot do it all, so it also involves supporting people who often lack personal resources into lasting recovery by helping them to find work, decent accommodation, and a positive social network such as a mutual aid group. Local authorities are well placed to link together this network of support, working with a range of partners including voluntary and community sector organisations and the NHS.”