Evanston community to participate in underage drinking prevention campaign

Tori Latham, City Editor

Evanston community members will participate later this week in a statewide campaign to prevent underage drinking.

The Evanston Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, along with student and adult volunteers, will go to local businesses Thursday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and distribute materials emphasizing the harm of underage drinking, Evanston police said Tuesday.

Karen Finstad, the coalition coordinator, told The Daily the campaign is important because it raises awareness in the city.

“This is just one way of promoting an issue that is important year-round,” Finstad said. “I’m hoping it will have a long-term impact because these materials will be kept up as long as the businesses agree to keep them up.”

The campaign is part of the larger YOUR ACTIONS MATTER! campaign sponsored by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.

Community members will be putting up posters and age signs, along with materials placed directly on alcoholic beverages sold at retail locations so those who purchase them think twice before bringing alcohol to underage people, Finstad said.

Although she said underage drinking has many negative effects on young people, Finstad emphasized the developmental risks underage drinking imposes.

“These kids are in a critical time for brain development,” she said. “We want to emphasize that this is for personal safety, but it’s the community’s responsibility to help prevent underage drinking.”

Evanston police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan told The Daily it was important that the police team up with the ESAP Coalition to bring more attention to the campaign.

“It helps to be out there and have an enforcement role,” Dugan said. “We’re always trying to be vigilant, especially in a college town.”

The campaign will kick off Thursday before material distribution at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Institute of Therapy through the Arts, 1702 Sherman Ave.

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