|The Knox County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition held a panel discussion Friday on synthetic drugs.
The panel, which included discussion on drug prevention, symptoms, chemical structure, and recovery entertained the nearly 80 people in attendance.
Illinois has experienced what was described as a dramatic rise in 2011 of "synthetic weed" use.
The State of Illinois outlawed the use of synthetic marijuana and instituted police enforcement measures that officials believe contributed to it's decline in 2012.
Rene Sandoval is with the Peoria Multi-County Narcotics Enforcement Group. He tells WGIL education efforts are working.
"I think a lot of people ask quite often is it worth your time and effort and most of the presentations we do they're symposiums because you have different disciplines actually doing the presentation. But personal opinion if I went out and spoke for the next three months to thousands of kids at schools if it only saved one it makes a difference."
ER visits for pharmaceutical drug use was up 97 percent between 2009 and 2010.
Sandoval went on to say the purpose of the panel discussions is to inform medical personnel and parents about the risks associated with synthetic drug use.
There were 43 drug related overdose deaths in Illinois last year.