Robert G. De Vries: Nothing has changed

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I came to Steamboat Springs in 1968 to serve the court as a juvenile probation officer. At that time, the population was about 3,000. There were 250 to 300 teenagers in the high school; about 95 percent of them lived at home with their natural parents. The police department had three officers, and the sheriff's department had five. There were two or three liquor stores and two 3.2 bars where 18-year-olds could legally drink beer. Guess what? Our biggest problem was underage drinking. In 37 years, nothing has changed but the numbers.

I had three sons graduate from Steamboat Springs High School, and none of them ever came home intoxicated or was picked up for underage drinking, because they knew what would happen. Well, they didn't know exactly what would happen, but they knew they wouldn't like it.

At the end of an article in the (Nov. 4) Steamboat Today, there were 11 suggestions for the possible changing of this situation. The last one is in the wrong place; it should be No. 1. Until all the parents take responsibility for their children, there will be little or no change. Juveniles who drink won't attend meetings and probably won't use a teen center or any other activity, and the parents who don't care whether their children drink won't either.

Anyone and everyone who violates the liquor statutes should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and there are enough of them on the books. I'm a little tired of all the time and money that is being spent to find something for every juvenile to do in his/her spare time to keep them happy.

Robert G. De Vries

Steamboat Springs

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