Drug treatment numbers double but class A drug use on the rise

The number of people receiving drug treatment services in England doubled from 1998-9 to 2005-6, figures out today show.

There were over 181,000 people in contact with services in 2005-6, up 13% on the 2004-5 figure, according to statistics from the Information Centre for Health and Social Care.

But the number of adults taking class A drugs rose from 2.7% in 1998 to 3.4% in 2005-6, mainly due to an increase in the use of cocaine.

The figures also showed a fall in the number of young people regularly taking drugs, with 4% of 11- to 15-year-olds taking drugs at least once a month in England in 2006, down from 6% in 2005.

Professor Denise Lievesley, the ISC’s chief executive, said: “Whilst it is pleasing to see that overall drug use seems to be dipping, and more people are accessing treatment, the increase in the use of class A drugs – fuelled by higher consumption of cocaine – gives us cause for concern. We hope that government, policy makers and the NHS will use these figures to help inform the development of strategies aimed at reducing the harm caused by illegal drug use.”

Today’s figures followed a report by new independent boyd the UK Drugs Policy Commission last week that claimed drugs policy had failed to stem the use of illegal drugs in the UK.

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