A report by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misues states that the number of under-18s being treated for substance misuse in England has fallen each year from a peak of 24,053 in the financial year 2008/09 to 20,688 in 2011/12. The drop in numbers seems to represent a genuine fall in demand, reflecting falling drug use among the general population of young people.
Those receiving help primarily for heroin and other opiates fell to 211, to about a quarter the level of six years ago. At 3%, the proportion of young people being treated primarily for these and other drugs in class A (the most serious) of the Misuse of Drugs Act was almost a third the proportion five years ago,with numbers falling from a peak of 2050 in 2007/8 to 631. In the previous year the only drug category to increase in numbers (from 256 to 639) was the amphetamines, probably because the figures included mephedrone, which was made a controlled drug in 2010, so is now included in these statistics. In this latest year though the figure fell back to 493.
The number of under-18s accessing services for problems with cannabis rose to a record 13,200 in 2011/12, despite falls in use among the general population. For alcohol numbers fell from 7054 in the previous year to 5884.
Most of the young patients (80%) were living with their parents or other relatives, about half were in mainstream education.