The number of heroin and crack cocaine users in England has fallen below 300,000 for the first time. Estimates from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA), show a significant fall in use among the under 25s and under 35s in the last year.
In 2010/11, the figures from Falling drug use: The impact of treatment show the number of heroin and crack users fell to 298,752 from a peak of 332,090 in 2005/06.
The number of people injecting drugs has also fallen by more than 36,500 between 2005/6 and 2010/11.
The figures have been published as the NTA prepares to hand over control of drug treatment to Public Health England (PHE) on 1 April 2013.
“Local authorities are well placed to bring together all the support people need to help them recover from addiction, including access to housing, employment and social networks,” said Paul Hayes, NTA chief executive.
Hayes told the BBC: “The drug population is ageing. We have very few people in their teens and twenties using heroin and crack, and more in treatment in their 40s and 50s who are frailer, iller and more difficult to turn around in the system.”
Mr Hayes said that drug-related crime is "significantly down", with the NTA estimating that drug treatment prevented some 4.9 million offences from taking place in 2010-11, by comparing rates of offending before and after treatment.