Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey, 2002-2013 onwards

The Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) has been running biennially since 2002; the most recent wave was in 2013. It was established by the then Scottish Executive to allow a broad-based approach to the monitoring of substance use among secondary school children in Scotland at both national and local level. It continues the biennial surveys of secondary school children undertaken between 1982 and 2000 in England and Scotland at the request of the Department of Health and the Scottish Executive Health Department (formerly the Scottish Office Department of Health). In Scotland the surveys were initially undertaken to provide estimates of the proportion of children aged 12-15 who smoked, and to describe patterns of smoking behaviour among smokers. From 1990 the surveys have included some questions on drinking in order to provide estimates of alcohol consumption. In 1998 a small number of questions on drugs were also included at the request of the Scottish Executive to provide information in support of Scotland's new drugs strategy.

Following a review of Scotland's future information needs in relation to drug misuse among school-aged children, it was decided to carry out a large disaggregated substance use survey in Scotland that would also include information about other lifestyle and contextual factors that may be associated with drug-taking.

The main topics include:

  • patterns of smoking, drinking and drugs use
  • availability of tobacco, drugs and alcohol
  • family attitudes to smoking and alcohol
  • family and friends smoking behaviour
  • truancy and exclusion
  • leisure activities


Note: The dataset does not include variables obtained from questions taken from the HBSC series of surveys or any derived variables created using these items. The annotated questionnaire included in the documentation shows which variables these are.

Spatial Coverage: 
Data Creator: 
C. Currie (University of Edinburgh. Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit. Moray House School of Education)
J. Corbett (University of Edinburgh. Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit. Moray House School of Educations.)
Time Period: 

Cross-sectional study; conducted biennially from 2002 onwards.

Data Publisher:


Machine-readable User Guide in Adobe PDF format.


Persistent identifier:10.5255/UKDA-SN-7660-1

File Descriptions: 


  • *.pdf are portable document files.
  • *.por are SPSS files.
  • *.htm are HTML files


File Storage: 

Survey data written to CD-ROM 17/8/05.


SPSS files .

UKDA Study Number: 
Data Access: 

Users must register before receiving a copy of data files. The hyperlink provided here is to the 2013 wave of the study. Go to the Related Studies section for links to the 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 waves: .