American Samoa's public safety commissioner, Le'i Sonny Thompson, says young unemployed people are being used in the drug trade.
Le'i was speaking at a meeting on the territory's drug problem including US law enforcers and local authorities.
He echoed concerns about the presence of drugs in schools.
"I just heard yesterday that some of the younger people here are working for those who sell or bring these drugs in just because they don't have jobs."
Le'i said the territory needs help with rehabilitating drug addicts rather than simply detaining them.