2 May 2011

American Samoa told it needs more than a punitive approach to drug problem

1:42 pm on 2 May 2011

American Samoa's Chief Justice, Michael Kruse, says more is needed than laws with severe penalties to address the territory's growing drug problem.

He made the comment during sentencing of a mother of three who was supplying methamphetamine and a man in his 30's who was a user.

He said American Samoa's tough drug laws mirror New York drug legislation passed in the 1980's.

Under existing law the minimum sentence for possession of drugs, no matter what the quantity, is seven years in jail and/or a five thousand dollar fine.

The chief justice said the territory needs to do more to address the drug problem beyond just passing drug laws.