Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey 2015: multiple substance use

Trend and current information on multiple substance use in 13 and 15 year olds in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection

Scottish Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2015 : Six Key Facts About Multiple Substance Use

1. A large majority of pupils do not take any substances regularly. But a small proportion – 2% of 15 year olds and less than 1% of 13 year olds – smoke, drink and take drugs (though not necessarily simultaneously).

Multiple substance use (2015) chart

2. Those who smoke regularly, and those who used drugs in the last month, are more likely to also have used another substance than those who drank weekly.

3. As with the use of individual substances, multiple substance use has declined over time.

Multiple substance use (over time among 15 year olds (2000-2015)

4. Factors which predict the use of any substance are similar to the factors which predict the use of multiple substances – the differences are a matter of a degree rather than of kind.

5. The main risk factors for multiple substance use are: disengagement with school (increased levels of exclusion and truanting) and lower supervision and structure in leisure time activities (a greater number of evenings spent out with friends, more time spent 'hanging out in the street', lower levels of club/group membership and lower parental knowledge of activities).

6. There has been an increase since 2013 in the proportion of both boys and girls who think it's ok to try cannabis. And there has been a small increase in the number of boys who have taken cannabis in the last month since 2013 (though not girls).

SALSUS collects information on smoking, drinking, drug use and other lifestyle factors from young people all over Scotland. It is part of an important and long established series of national surveys which allow comparisons to be made between over time, between different parts of Scotland and between Scotland and other countries. 25,304 pupils participated in the 2015 wave. More information is available at:


Email: Julie Guy

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

Back to top