7 Nov 2012

NGOs facing increasing challenge helping Guam's youth beat drugs

3:17 pm on 7 November 2012

A case manager for the youth mentoring organisation Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guam says it is becoming increasingly challenging for organisations such as his to reach out to young drug users.

Substance abuse is rife in the United States territory and there is strong trade in methamphetamine, which commands prices up to 20 times greater than on the mainland.

Tim Reynolds says although there is definitely an issue with methamphetamine in particular on island, he is not sure that it's the drug of choice for youth.

But he says many young people are getting into harder drugs through abusing alcohol and prescription medication and the global economic crunch is making it more difficult to help them.

"Unfortunately in the past, federal dollars that used to trickle down to Guam and then into non-profit agencies like ours, we haven't those the last couple of years. Fortunately the grassroots, the business community has helped with fundraisers and other things to keep our programmes going but a lot of those grants that used to be there are not there."

Tim Reynolds says feeling geographically isolated may be why so many young people start taking drugs.