MORGAN -- The results of a survey revealing where teens are consuming alcohol in this rural community are raising eyebrows and big concerns.
Although the number of respondents is small and officials lack consistent data, a Weber Human Services representative said she is concerned because the survey revealed some of the shocking conditions in which teens illegally drink in Morgan County.
New on the 2011 Student Health and Risk Prevention survey was a question asking respondents who have consumed alcohol where they had done so.
About 50 percent of Morgan eighth-graders who reported consuming alcohol said they had done so at home -- with their parents' permission.
Thirty-three percent of Morgan eighth-grade respondents said they consumed alcohol at another home -- with the permission of another child's parent. The state average is about 28 percent.
"In my profession, that makes me mad," said Kandi Christiansen, a prevention specialist with Weber Human Services. "It can be eye-opening."
However, Morgan 10th-graders are consuming alcohol without adult permission.
Seventy percent of Morgan 10th-grade respondents consuming alcohol said they did so without a parent's permission. Forty-five percent of Morgan 10th-grade respondents consuming alcohol did so at or near a school; the state average is about 28 percent.
Survey results show that Morgan teens are using alcohol and marijuana at higher rates than previously reported, although at lower rates when compared with statewide results.
The survey pointed out Morgan's strengths as well.
Morgan School District Superintendent Ken Adams said respondents indicated more pro-social environment opportunities.
This year, only 168 students in grades 8, 10 and 12 took the survey compared with 255 in 2007.
"A lot of people are going to question the low (number) of people taking (the survey), so how can it be valid?" Christiansen said.
"This is just one piece of data you can look at, but it's the only piece you have. The percentages are low, but it can still give you good information."
Parents had to actively opt in by returning a permission slip allowing their children to take the survey.
To increase future participation, Christiansen suggested the Morgan School Board provide incentives to students for returning the permission slip.
The district began administering the Sharp survey in 2003, but because of parental outcry, in 2009, the school board voted to discontinue administering it to students in grades six, eight, 10 and 12.
When they reinstituted the survey this year, district officials decided to eliminate sixth-graders from the survey.
That decision has had an impact on survey results, Christiansen said.
"It hurt Morgan. We've lost that data for that year, so we don't get to see the trends. Consider how important it is to continue doing this, to get longitudinal data."
Still, she said, community leaders should take the limited results seriously, because for each survey respondent who admits to alcohol or drug abuse, there are peers doing the same thing but who don't admit it.
"Don't put all your eggs in the basket," Christiansen said. "But I hope you don't ignore it. Even one kid using is going to affect a lot of people in the community."
The fact that sixth-graders in Morgan weren't surveyed this year concerns her because sixth grade is a pivotal time, when students begin experimenting with alcohol and drugs, Christiansen said.
"It's hard to prevent problems when you don't know about them until the eighth grade."