16 Oct 2008

Underage drinking almost social norm in American Samoa

2:33 pm on 16 October 2008

Underage drinking in American Samoa is almost a social norm, according to the Department of Human and Social Services.

The comment follows a meeting of parents and students called earlier this week by the territory's First Lady, Maryanne Tulafono, to address what is described as a growing problem.

Toleofa Kathryn Tupua, the assistant director of the department's systems development and community assistance division, says the meeting was a wonderful success, with an unexpectedly high turnout of about 600 parents and their children.

Toleofa says the purpose of the meeting was to find out from young people why they are drinking.

"It's the appearance that it's glamorised in the music and the video games and the TV and the videos that they see. And they see it at home, they see it in the villages, it's almost as if it's a social norm in American Samoa."

Toleofa Kathryn Tupua says another problem is that young people are not familar with the negative consequences of underage drinking.