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Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS)

Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS)

The Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) is part of an important and long established series of national surveys on smoking, drinking and drug use. The survey is conducted on a biennial basis, targeting secondary school pupils in local authority and independent schools.



The Scottish Government has commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct the 2018 wave of SALSUS. The fieldwork will take place between November 2018 and January 2019 and will collect the responses of over 30,000 young people – providing both national and local level data.

The data collected will be stored securely and in accordance with the 2018 Data Protection Act. For more information please view the data privacy notice for the project.



The SALSUS 2015 survey provides national level data on smoking, drinking, drug use and lifestyle issues amongst Scotland’s secondary school children.

Links to the SALSUS 2015 reports, which were published on 25 October 2016, are available below.

Seven follow-up reports were published on 17 May 2017 including a report on Mental Wellbeing and a report on Lifestyle Trends. The links are below:

Teenage Lifestyle Trends (2015)

Teenage Lifestyle Trend Summary Report (2015)

Mental Wellbeing Report (2015)

Mental Wellbeing Summary Report (2015)

Six key facts about sources of Alcohol (2015)

Six key facts about e-cigarette use (2015)

Six key facts about Attitudes to Substance Use (2015)

Two further fact sheets were published on 23 May 2017 on New Psychoactive Substsances and Multiple Substance Use. the Links are below:

Five key facts about New Psychoactive Substances

Six key facts about Multiple Substance Use


The first data tables from the 2015 survey are available via the Scottish Government OpenData Platform. Further data tables will be added on an ongoing basis. A user guide has been developed to help SALSUS data users access the data that they need. If you are interested in attending a training session to enable you to access SALSUS data via the OpenData Platform, please email

About the SALSUS 2015 Survey

The research was commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by Ipsos MORI Scotland. Fieldwork was undertaken between September 2015 and January 2016. Further information on the fieldwork and data processing for the SALSUS 2015 survey is available in the Technical Report (2015).

For the first time, some respondents completed the survey online (rather than paper). A mode effect study was conducted during the 2015 Survey to examine whether the different routes of administration resulted in any difference in the data collected. More information and the results of this study are available in the Mode Effect Report (2015).

A list of all the survey questions is available in the 2015 Questionnaire.


Other SALSUS Publications

  1. Tobacco use among adolescents in Scotland: profile and trends (published 2nd February 2016)
  2. Mental health and inequalities among adolescents in Scotland: profile and trends (published 3rd November 2015)
  3. Multiple Substance Use Among Adolescents in Scotland: Profile and Trends  (published 8th Sept 2015)
  4. Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2015: Online Pilot (published 10th June 2015)

  5. Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2015: Online Feasibility Study - (published 28/05/2015)
  6. Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) Data Over Time (1990-2013) – Stage 1: Feasibility Report  (published 14 May 2015)


SALSUS Time Trends Dataset

A new SALSUS resource has been developed by Ipsos Mori containing all the SALSUS datasets from 1990-2013.  This enables time series analysis for the first time.  This is available from the UK Data Archive.

The user guide is available here.

It is suitable for teaching and research purposes. 



The SALSUS 2013 reports and datatables are available via the Information Services Division (ISD) website (published on 25th November 2014).

The 2013 survey provides data at Health Board, Local Authority and Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) level.

SALSUS 2013 was run on the Scottish Government’s behalf by Information Services Division (ISD). ISD Scotland is part of NHS National Services Scotland. Ipsos MORI carried out the fieldwork.

Information is also available on a SALSUS 2014 event which showcased SALSUS 2013 reports.

Previous SALSUS reports are also available on the ISD website.


Contact details

For further information and queries, please contact us at:


Relevant websites

SALSUS website at Information Services Division (ISD), part of NHS National Services Scotland

Scottish Government schools survey website