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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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UK charities accept money from family at centre of world's opioid crisis

This news post is 7 months old

A raft of organisations were given six-figure sums

A philanthropic trust funded by the family at the heart of the opioid crisis has controversially restarted giving cash to UK charities.

The Sacklers, who owned Purdue Pharma, maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, gave up on funding after a deluge of bad publicity, but in 2020 a string of organisations quietly accepted another £3.5m, it has been revealed.

The Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra was granted £280,000. King’s College London was given £250,000. The Amber Foundation, a homelessness charity received £200,000.

Other beneficiaries include a church in central London, a chain of academies in the capital and a wildlife conservation charity in the Galapagos Islands.

Almost 2,300 people died from drug poisoning involving opioids in the UK last year, according to the Office for National Statistics, up 48% from 2010.

The Sacklers have over the years been generous donors to the arts and have three charities in the UK: the Sackler Trust, the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation.

Together the three charities have donated almost £170 million to museums, theatres and universities since 2010.

However the family  has been accused of using philantrhropy in an attempt to launder its reputation as they currently face legal actions which could cost them billions in compensation,  

Paul Rosam, chief executive of the Amber Foundation, said it was possible to “provide a temporary home and support for some of the most vulnerable young people in society” only because of grants and donations.

The Sacklers donated £200,000 to the charity, which helps homeless people obtain qualifications and find jobs and homes, in 2020. “Along with the Sackler Trust, we are grateful to all of our supporters and volunteers who have helped to make our life-changing work possible throughout this difficult time,” Rosam said.



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