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On Aug. 7, Evanston residents joined together at nine locations throughout the City during the 29th annual observance of National Night Out. National Night Out is a celebration that brings police officers, firefighters and community members together in neighborhoods all across the United States. The idea behind the event is to better the relationship between residents and local first responders, and to bring neighborhoods together to stand in unity against crime and violence.

The ESAP Coalition was in attendance at Evanston’s largest gathering point, at the intersection of Church and Dodge, speaking with those in attendance about the effects that illegal substance use has on communities and their crime rates. Studies show that youth substance use contributes to violence in Evanston. According to a recent survey with high school youth, as a result of drinking alcohol, 10 percent had been hurt or injured, 7 percent had damaged property, and 18 percent had been in an argument or physical fight.

ESAP Coalition is a community-based group, collaborating to positively impact the environment of Evanston youth – their homes, their schools and the greater community – making it safer, healthier and drug-free. Our mission is to increase the health of Evanston youth by preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use through community-level strategies.

Those interested in becoming more involved may contact Maura Mooney, ESAP Coalition Coordinator at esapc.coordinator@gmail.com or 847-492-1778 or visit www.esapcoalition.org.