Staggering statistic about alcohol and drug-related crimes in Samoa

A staggering 90 per cent of crimes committed in Samoa are alcohol and drugs related.

The statistic was revealed by the Salvation Army Team Leader, Sailivao Aukusitino Senio, who confirmed that between August 2018 and February 2020, the Court has referred 430 people for alcohol-related crimes to them for counselling and help.

Sailivao highlighted the issue during an outreach programme at Saleimoa, spearheaded by Salvation Army, in partnership with Goshen Trust Mental Health Services and the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, Probation & Parole team.

The programme was an opportunity to share the message that “community engagement is vital to reducing the harms associated with alcohol and drug use.”

Sailivao said they wanted members of the communities to know that addiction and mental health is everyone’s business.

“We all need to work collaboratively to make a difference,” he said.

The sobering data, Sailivao said, pointed to the need for a community approach to address alcohol and drug abuse in Samoa.

The numbers are rising for drink-driving offences that are presenting through the Courts.

Last month 29 out of the 43 referrals to Salvation Army received from the Probation & Parole team, were for driving while under the influence of alcohol. 

Sailivao advised the community to seek help before their drinking or drug use becomes problematic and they end up in trouble with the Police and the Courts. 

“We can’t do it alone and so we need every member of the community to help us, to help their loved ones.”

The Goshen Trust C.E.O., Naomi Eshraghi, called for a community approach to address the stigmatisation associated with mental health. 

She said mental health is no different to any other health condition and the person needs love, care and support. 

Principal Probation and Parole Officer, Motunu'u Teofilo Mikaele, spoke about the importance of the relationship with the Salvation Army in terms of having a service that is available to provide treatment. 

The Probation & Parole team had been trained to use screening tools for Alcohol and Drug use and they then refer people to the Salvation Army as a condition of their sentencing.  

The Salvation Army provides a free, confidential service, delivering treatment and support for addiction issues, which includes gambling. 

Sailivao advised that anyone can refer to our service, e.g. Aiga, Pulenu’u, Faifeau, if they have concerns about someone abusing alcohol, using drugs or gambling’.

Under the Goshen Trust is a community living family support services that aims to support families of peoples who experience ongoing mental disorder through direct one to one support with families and monthly support group meetings.  

It involves the consumer's family in the treatment and educating them about mental health disorder which is the key factor in rehabilitation.

According to statistics from Goshen Trust, from January 2019 to December 2019 a total of 49 consumers used the service, 14 females and 35 males.

Goshen Trust in partnership with other stakeholders such as Salvation Army works in promotion of changing attitudes towards Mental Illness with De-stigmatization outreach programs. 

 

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