29 Aug 2011

US pledges millions to American Samoa to fight substance abuse

8:45 am on 29 August 2011

The United States has pledged 8.3 million US dollars to American Samoa to fight substance abuse.

American Samoa congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says the money will go towards early detection and prevention aiming to reach ninety per cent of the population over five years.

He says the award is in line with US President Barack Obama's policy of efficient programmes aimed at stemming escalating health care costs.

The money will be managed by the territory's Department of Human and Social Services.

Our Correspondent, Monica Miller, says a law was passed last year creating a drinking age of 21 and since then many teenagers have been passing through the courts.

"It's also come to the court's notice that many of the crimes that are committed by juvenilles are alcohol related. And many of the homes of these juvenilles, they're from families of people who have a substance abuse problem in their family."

Monica Miller says alcohol is more of a problem than drug abuse in the territory.