Membership body DrugScope has announced that it is to close with effect from today, stating that this is due to a “worsening financial situation”.
The London-based charity, which was a memberhship organisation for the drugs sector, employed 19 staff, said in its most recent accounts for the year-end March 2014 that it had seen a decrease in income from grants, projects and contracts, and a reduction in income from sales of publications, advertising and investments.
DrugScope has seen its income steadily decrease in the last five years, from just over £1m to £880,000 last year. Despite this, its spending last year was £1.1m.
In a statement on the charity’s website, its chair Edwin Richards said: “It is with a heavy heart that the board has taken this extremely difficult decision. We are grateful to all of DrugScope’s staff for their hard work, skill and commitment.
“I am saddened for DrugScope members whose support for the organisation has been at the heart of its work and governance. The focus going forward is on ensuring that the mission is carried on by other means.”
The charity’s most recent accounts revealed that it had to part-fund its charitable activities throughout 2014-15 through a draw down on reserves.
The most recent accounts also showed that the charity and its services were still very much in demand, with its website continuing to receive 45,000 to 55,000 unique visitors a month.
Dr Marcus Roberts, the charity’s chief executive, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank staff – past and present - for all their exceptional hard work and loyalty which has ensured DrugScope’s high reputation within the sector and beyond, among partner agencies, central government and other key stakeholders.
“It has been an immense privilege to lead such a skilled and dedicated staff team. I’d also like to thank all those who have worked as DrugScope trustees – now and over the years - for their support for the organisation and its mission.”
The statement clarified that the decision to close the charity, which was founded in 2000 as a result of a merger between the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence and the Standing Conference of Drug Abuse, will not affect the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals.
DrugScope's membership includes organisations, services and activities across the drug and alcohol and related sectors. These are in "community based, residential and prison based treatment, primary care, prevention and education, social care, criminal justice, service user groups, peer mentoring and support groups, family support groups, commissioners and statutory bodies".
It's most recent accounts state "an average of 500 members —primarily organisations - plus around 350 individuals and organisations subscribing to our bi-monthly Druglink magazine".