24 Dec 2007

Survey reveals high risk behaviour among youth in American Samoa

5:53 am on 24 December 2007

The findings of a youth risk behaviour survey of high school students in American Samoa has found alarming statistics on alcohol and drug use, cigarette smoking and sexual activity.

The survey, conducted this year, found nearly 14 per cent had tried alcohol before age 13.

17 per cent claimed to have tried marijuana once, and just over 5 per cent said they had tried it on school property.

32 per cent of students said they had had sex, and over seven per cent said they had become sexually active before they were 13.

The executive Director of a community project to deal with substance abuse among youth, Katie Tupua, says the numbers are alarming:

"It's very disturbing because in comparison to national or nation wide statistics we are right up there with what is happening with the mainland, and in some instances where our kids are trying alcohol and tobacco and in an earlier age, a larger percentage of our kids are staring earlier compared to kids on the mainland. It is a cause for concern."

Youth worker, Katie Tupua.