Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use (SDD) Among Young People in England Survey

Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use (SDD) Among Young People in England Survey: Information for schools

What is the study about?

The Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use study has been running since 1982. This year the study will collect information on the attitudes and experiences of more than 12,000 secondary school pupils. The study asks pupils about their experiences of smoking, drinking and taking drugs, and how they make choices about them.

The research contributes to National Statistics which are used by government departments and local authorities to inform policy and plan services to help improve young people’s lives. The study is very high profile and has a significant impact on policy-making across government. It’s used by a wide range of government departments to design and monitor the impact of national and local policy: for example, it’s used by the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Education, the Home Office and Public Health England. It’s also used by the NHS, local government departments, charities, and industry groups that aim to protect children.

Who is carrying out the study and who is it being conducted for?

The study is being carried out by Ipsos MORI, a leading market research organisation which has extensive experience of carrying out surveys of young people. Ipsos MORI have been asked to conduct the survey by NHS Digital. NHS Digital has a responsibility to collect, analyse and publish health data, including that on young people’s health. The funding for the survey has come from the Department of Health and Social Care.

Who has reviewed this study?

The methodology and the information we provide to participating schools and pupils was reviewed and approved by an ethics board at the National Children’s Bureau (NCB).

Why was the school selected to take part?

A randomly selected, representative sample of schools across England has been chosen from a Department for Education list of all secondary and middle schools in the country. The aim is to survey class groups in these schools so that the survey gives an accurate picture of the behaviour of 11-16 year olds.

How will the survey work?

Ipsos MORI will send an experienced, trained Study Administrator to administer the questionnaires. They will explain to pupils what the survey is about and how to fill in the questionnaire and will collect the questionnaires at the end of the session. Alternatively, schools can choose to administer the survey themselves and we will send guidance and the materials by post to do this. Our Study Administrators will liaise with you and your staff to find the best time to do this whilst causing minimal disruption to the school day.

Will we be informing parents about the study?

Ipsos MORI will provide a letter for parents (available soon) which the school must send to parents before the survey session. Parents will be given information about the study and on how they can withdraw their child from taking part, if they wish.

Will the school be judged on the results?

No. No one outside Ipsos MORI will know which schools took part and the questions do not assess the school in any way.

What happens to the findings?

The findings from the survey will be written up in a report, which is planned to be published on the NHS Digital website in summer 2022. Pupils’ answers will be combined with more than 10,000 other people's answers and only anonymous data will be reported, so they will not identify any schools, pupils or local authorities that take part. The results will be presented in statistical reports including breakdowns by age, gender and ethnicity in a way in which no individual child or school can be identified. This data file will be added to the UK Data Service, which is a website that holds data for hundreds of the UK’s most important research studies. Researchers will be able to look at the data but they will not be able to identify which schools or pupils have taken part in the study.

Previous national level results can be found here:

Your school will also be emailed a short report with information on how your school’s data compares to the national averages. The data in the report will not allow readers to identify individual respondents.

What are the questions about?

The questions in the survey ask about pupil demographics, including ethnicity, as well as smoking, drinking and drug use behaviour, and attitudes towards these behaviours. The survey is completely voluntary: pupils will be provided with information about the survey and given an opportunity to withdraw from taking part before they are asked to complete the questionnaire.

Is taking part compulsory?

No. Taking part is completely voluntary. Schools’ help is really valuable in making sure we understand the lives of all young people. The results of the survey are used by the NHS, charities and Government, so they can make the right decisions about how to help young people.

The pandemic has disrupted and changed many aspects of young people’s home and school life. There is now a great necessity to understand how health behaviours in young people have changed. By taking part in this study you are helping to identify some of the ways in which the pandemic has impacted on 11-16 year olds.

Data and confidentiality

This research complies fully with GDPR and the Market Research Society Code of Conduct. Taking part in this survey is voluntary. See below for more information about GDPR.

The survey is completely confidential:  the school, the pupils, and the teachers involved will not be identified in any analysis and reporting. Ipsos MORI will store respondents’ information securely and the name and address of your school and of the class groups that take part will not be passed on to any other organisation. This information will be deleted within three months after the end of the project. Your school will not receive any ‘junk mail’ as a result of taking part.

Answers to the questionnaire will be used for research purposes only, and will be combined with those of others that take part in the survey. Only anonymous statistics will be reported. Pupils do not write their names on the questionnaire, and therefore will never be identifiable to the study research team nor in any data collected.

All of the research is carried out in line with the Market Research Society (MRS) Code of Conduct. Everything that respondents tell us will be treated in complete confidence, which means that no-one at your school will ever see pupils’ answers. You have the right to contact the MRS or ICO if you wish to complain about any aspect of this research. 

More information about how the data will be used and your rights is available at:

More information about GDPR

The survey has been reviewed by NHS Digital to ensure it is GDPR compliant.

a.  Reasons of public interest in the area of public health (article 9, para 2i).
b.  Archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes in accordance with Article 89(1) (article 9, para 2j).

Who can I contact if I have any further questions about SDD or am interested in taking part?

You can email the Ipsos MORI survey team at, or call 020 3059 5318.