Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS): Drug Use Report 2015

This report presents the drugs findings from the 2015 wave of the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS).

5 Drugs education and support

Where pupils would go for drugs information

Pupils were most likely to say that they would go to either a friend or a parent if they wanted more information about drugs. 13 year olds were more likely than 15 year olds to go to a parent, whereas 15 year olds were more likely than 13 year olds to go to a friend (Figure 5.1).

Among both age groups, boys were more likely than girls to say that they would go to a parent (26% of boys, compared with 17% of girls) or teacher (36% of boys, compared with 27% of girls) for help.

Q. If you wanted information about drugs, who/where would you go to?

Base: 13 year olds who have ever used drugs (539), 15 year olds who have ever used drugs (1,736)

Drugs education

15 year olds were more likely than 13 year olds to have received lessons, videos/ DVDs or discussion in class about drugs (70% of 15 year olds, compared with 62% of 13 year olds).

Among 15 year olds, those who had received lessons were less likely than those who had not to have used drugs in the last month. 10% of 15 year olds who had received lessons had taken drugs in the last month, compared with 14% of 15 year olds who had not received lessons. There were no differences among 13 year olds.

The majority of pupils thought that their school was providing them with enough advice and support about taking drugs (69% of 13 year olds and 67% of 15 year olds).

While there were no statistically significant gender differences among 13 year olds, 15 year olds girls were less likely than 15 year old boys to agree that they received enough advice and support about taking drugs (Figure 5.2).

Figure 5.2 Advice and support about using drugs, by age and sex (2015)

Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? My school provides me with enough advice and support about…? Taking drugs

Base: 13 year old boys (5,375) 13 year old girls (5,590) 15 year old boys (5,799) 15 year olds girls (5,853)

Among both age groups, those that agreed that their school provided them with enough advice and support about taking drugs, were less likely to have used drugs in the last month (Figure 5.3).

Figure 5.3 Proportion of pupils who took drugs in the last month by whether they agree that their school provides them with enough advice and support about taking drugs (2015)

Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? My school provides me with enough advice and support about…? Taking drugs

Base: all pupils (for full base sizes please see Appendix B)

Amount learned in school about drugs

Pupils were asked how much they had learned at school about a series of topics relating to drugs. Pupils in both age groups were most likely to say that they had learned 'a lot' about the risks to their health from drugs. However, around half said that they had learned 'a lot' about each of the topics (Figure 5.4).

Overall, boys were more likely to say that they learned a lot about each topic.

Figure 5.4 Amount learned about drugs at school by age (2015)

Q. In school, how much have you learned about the following?

Base: all 13 year olds (11,244), all 15 year olds (11,863)

Across all four topics, those that said they had learned 'a little' or 'a lot' were less likely to have used drugs in the last month than those who learned 'not much or nothing at all' (Figure 5.5). This was the case for 13 and 15 year olds.

Figure 5.5 Proportion of 15 year olds who took drugs in the last month, by how much they say they have learned about drug topics in school (2015)

Q. In school, how much have you learned about the following?

Base: 15 year olds who learned a lot about drug topics, 15 year olds who learned a little, 15 year olds who learned not much/nothing at all (for full base sizes please see Appendix B)

Confidence in health and wellbeing choices

Pupils were asked how confident they were about four aspects of health and wellbeing. Across each, the majority of pupils of both age groups reported that they felt confident in their health and wellbeing choices. There were no differences between the two age groups, with the exception of 13 year olds being more likely than 15 year olds to feel very confident that they know where to go for information and support about substance related issues and avoiding getting into risky situations due to drugs (Figure 5.6).

The only gender differences were that 15 year olds girls were less likely than 15 year old boys to say that they were confident that they had the information they need to make the right choices about their health and wellbeing (86% of 15 year olds girls, compared with 90% of 15 year old boys) and knowing where to go for information and support about substance use related issues (75% of 15 year old girls, compared with 83% of boys).

Figure 5.6 Confidence in health and wellbeing choices by age (2015)