Oxford donor suspends giving amid opioid legal scandal

Accused of "deceptive practices", the Sackler family has been a donor since 1991.

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The Sackler Library

The Sackler Trust, a donor to the University of Oxford since 1991, has put all further philanthropic donations on hold due to its implication in the US opioid crisis.

Dame Theresa Sackler, Chair of the trust released a statement, saying that “The Trustees of the Sackler Trust have taken the difficult decision to temporarily pause all new philanthropic giving, while still honouring existing commitments.”

This comes after the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Group both announced that they would no longer accept gifts or donations from members of the family.

The Bodleian Sackler Library, as well as the Sackler Keeper of Antiquities at the Ashmolean, are funded by the $11 million the University has received from the family.

In addition, a University lecturer and teaching fellowship in the Earth Sciences are supported by the family’s donations.

The same statement reaffirms the Trust’s support for the Sackler family, eight of whom are named in a lawsuit by the Massachusetts’s Attorney General. Purdue Pharma, and 17 associated individuals are accused of using deceptive practices to push addictive drugs, that led to fatal overdoses and the evolution of the opioid crisis.

The Connecticut and Ohio Attorneys General also have cases against Purdue and the Sacklers, along with hundreds of others brought in U.S. courts.

Oxford University stated, in April last year, that it would not reconsider donations from the Sackler family, despite their involvement in the production of the addictive opioid.

A court ruling states: “They [the 8 Sackler family members] directed deceptive sales and marketing practices deep within Purdue, sending hundreds of orders to executives and line employees.

“From the money that Purdue collected selling opioids, they paid themselves and their family billions of dollars.”

More than £60 million has been donate to UK organisations since 2010. Since that same year, the Centre for Disease Control estimates that 243,678 have occurred as a result of opioid overdoses.

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