YouthRISE Nigeria is an advocacy and service based organization with a mandate to promote human rights, access to quality healthcare, harm reduction, social justice and development for young people especially those vulnerable to drug use. Through strategic engagement with stakeholders and communities, we continue to champion drug policy reform and ensure better health outcomes for underserved communities. We are a recipient of the UNAIDS Red Ribbon Award.
YouthRISE Nigeria has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Much of Nigeria’s drug laws have been driven by the idea that most drugs are in transit through Nigeria, and destined for markets in Europe and North America. Because of this less attention was paid to the challenges of drug use. However,
evident during these periods are the widely use of drugs like cannabis, opioids, cocaine and amphetamines and the involvement of young people. At the same time Nigeria was facing an HIV epidemic having one of the highest burdens in Africa, second only to South Africa.
Adeolu Adebiyi (founding Executive Director) being an International Working Group member of YouthRISE International as the Africa representative and working on one of the Global Fund HIV programmes in Nigeria felt the specific response of the epidemic driven by drug use is not being adequately addressed. In his words “I could see a clear connection between drug use practices going on t the community level and the HIV infection rate”
In August 2010, with support of YouthRISE International, He facilitated a multi-stakeholder meeting in Abuja with the theme: Drug use and HIV: A need for comprehensive response”. The meeting generated a lot of interest and one of the key recommendations was a need to ensure there is a sustained advocacy.
In September 2012, YouthRISE Nigeria was born as an organization and was hosted by the Civil Society on Health and Rights of Vulnerable Women and Girls in Nigeria. (CISHRWIN). By July 2014, the organization got incorporated and received its certificate from the Corporate Affairs Commission.
With the first meeting held, Adeolu continued to facilitate informal networking among other young people in Nigeria to advance the need for drug policy reform and scaling up evidence based and comprehensive interventions among young people who use drugs.