Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey 2015: alcohol sources

Information on where 13 and 15 year old school pupils in Scotland try to obtain and do obtain alcohol.

This document is part of a collection

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

1. Pupils were most likely to get alcohol from their home (either with or without permission), from a friend or from a relative. Direct purchase of alcohol from a business was rare.

Chart: Sources of alcohol among those who have ever had a drink, by age (2015)

2. Most pupils who have ever drunk alcohol have never tried to purchase it directly themselves (81% of 13 year olds and 73% of 15 year olds have never tried).

3. However, most of those who tried to do so were successful e.g. 9% of 15 year olds (who had ever drunk) had tried to buy from off-trade in the last 4 weeks and been successful, while 2% had tried and been refused.

4. Pupils with more money of their own to spend were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week than those who had less.

Chart: Successful off-trade and on-trade alcohol purchase attempts in the last 4 weeks among 15 year olds who have ever had a drink (2006-2015)

5. The proportion of 15 year olds who made successful direct purchases decreased considerably between 2006 and 2013. However, there was a slight increase in boys making purchases from off-trade between 2013 and 2015.

6. Among 13 year olds who had someone else buy them alcohol, it was most common for it to be their mother, father or carer who did so on the last occasion. Among 15 year olds, it was most common for it be an older friend.

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