The use of intravenous drugs among young adults in England is declining rapidly according to a report by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA).
Of those presenting to drug treatment clinics for injecting drug use in 2009-10 only 27% of 18-24 year olds had ever injected, down from 42% in 2005-6.
Rates of injecting drug use across all other age groups also fell.
The report said the availability of treatment and the declining quality of street drugs were the primary causes of a fall in injecting drug use.
England now has one of the lowest rates of HIV infection amongst intravenous drug users in Western Europe as a result. The report also showed a drop in hepatitis with 18% of users infected with hepatitis B, the lowest rate since 1990.
Needle and syringe programmes were said to be integral to drop in infection rates.
Paul Hayes, chief executive of the NTA, said: “Research tells us that drug users are turning their backs on heroin and crack cocaine, a trend confirmed by our own treatment statistics. Now we know that of those coming in to treatment, fewer are injecting and half can expect to stop within a few months.”
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