The number of patients needing treatment for hard drug addiction fell by almost 10,000 over the last two years, figures show.

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse said the number of people addicted to the class A drugs - heroin and cocaine - fell from 62,963 in 2008-09 to 52,933 last year.

The numbers accessing treatment for all drugs also fell for the second year running.

The NTA figures showed the number of drug users who have been treated successfully and are getting their lives back on track rose by almost a fifth last year.

Some 27,969 users were classed as recovering in 2010-11, a rise of 18 per cent on the previous financial year and 150 per cent higher than 11,208 in 2005-06.

There was also a sharp fall in the number of addicts under 30 over the last five years, fuelled by the number of 18 to 24-year-olds seeking treatment for heroin and cocaine addiction halving from 12,320 in 2005-06 to 6,108 last year.

The figures also showed that, of the 255,556 people who entered a drugs treatment programme since April 2005 for the first time, 28 per cent (71,887) successfully completed the course and did not need further treatment.

The NTA’s chief executive Paul Hayes said the figures, which apply to adults in England only, showed that “recovery is now becoming a reality for more individuals each year”.

“More drug users are recovering from addiction, fewer need treatment, and more are getting over their addiction quickly,” he said.

“The fact that the next generation are getting the message that hard drugs wreak damage to individuals and communities is very positive, for them and the rest of society.”