10 Apr 2009

Teen Drinking major problem for American Samoa

1:41 pm on 10 April 2009

In American Samoa, the Chairman of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Nuutai Sonny Thompson, says he recognises that young people have easy access to alcohol.

This comes after the High Court questioned the government's action against shops identified in court cases as having sold beer to minors.

Nuutai says the Commission's board has been vigilant in its response.

But he says sometimes the information from police and the Attorney General's office does not get to him as fast as people expect.

But a community group dedicated to preventing alcohol and cigarette use among young people as well as teen pregnancy, says alcohol is always present in crimes involving minors.

A member of the group, the Reverend Sekuini Sevaetasi, says teen drinking is a major problem in the territory.

"Accessibility of drugs and alcohol to kids they can easily get a hold of it now days and there are of course the usual problem of the kids getting into contact with friends' from elsewhere. So our coalition is trying to focus on ways of preventing underage kids, you are talking about 11, 12 to 19 or 18 years old."