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Growing Demand: U.S. increased illicit drug use to 8.7% in 2009, more ecstasy, marijuana and methamphetamines.

A new government report blames increased marijuana use for an uptick in the overall use of illicit drugs among Americans.

The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows the rate of illicit drug use rose from eight percent in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2009. The survey also found increases in the use of ecstasy and methamphetamines.

Authorities are especially concerned about use of illicit drugs by young people. The survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found 21.2 percent of young adults experimented with illegal drugs in 2009. The report says the trend “was also driven in large part by the use of marijuana.”

National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske told CBS Radio News, young people are being exposed to “mixed messages” about marijuana including the idea that it is a medicine.

The “drug czar” said marijuana “may have properties that have medicinal values that should be tested” but he insisted it is not medicine.

Kerlikowske views marijuana as “an entry drug.” The survey found that for the first time since 2002, less than half of young people believe using marijuana is harmful.

The Obama administration remains strongly opposed to legalization of marijuana. READ MORE HERE.