31 Jan 2006

American Samoa judge calls for laws to control underage drinking

4:22 pm on 31 January 2006

The American Samoa District Court Judge John Ward says alcohol is the number one drug in the territory and it is contributing to many social problems.

Justice Ward has called for stricter laws to deal with alcohol consumption among minors and suppliers of alcohol to underage drinkers.

He says although he tries to scare young people by telling them that you have to be 21 before you can drink the alcohol laws need to be looked at.

"A close review of the statutes reveals that we don't have a minor-in-possession law. We don't punish underage people for possessing alcohol, we simply say, you have to be 21 to drink. We need some of those laws. We need, perhaps, some specific laws punishing people who procure alcohol, supply alcohol to minors."

Justice Ward says young people need to be given a chance to start a healthy life and not given the opportunity to become alcoholics.