American Samoa has launched a new programme to tackle drug use.
Territory Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga said the American Samoa Comprehensive Substance Abuse Council would coordinate local efforts to fight the problem through “education, enforcement, and treatment.”
The Council was established by an executive order, which said “illegal drug use and substance abuse have a significant impact on those who are addicted, their families and American Samoa.”
“Our strategy to respond to substance abuse must be based on evidence and take into consideration the culture of American Samoa and the communities that live in the Territory,” it added.
Community members have questioned whether another government panel will be able to address the long standing illegal drug problem in the territory.
For example, the previous administration had established a task force to tackle the drug problem, “but nothing has changed,” said one resident, who has retired from government service.
“And what, if any, are there any changes to this problem, with the Governor’s Drug Office?”
There continues to be no specific facility to treat individuals who suffer from drug addiction – something the local courts have pointed out as they continue to pass out jail sentences to drug abuse offenders, who are often repeat cases.