Global Drug Policy Program

YouthRISE Nigeria is at the forefront of drug policy reform in Nigeria and the African region through advocacy and strategic engagement with stakeholders toward promoting evidence-based drug policy rooted in public health, human rights and sustainable development. Through research, we generate viable evidence on the unintended consequences of the ‘war on drugs’ while we continue to build the capacity of targeted stakeholders in the area of drug policy and drug related issues.

In the last 4 years, we have engaged diverse stakeholders – law enforcement officers, media practitioners, Civil Society Organizations, religious leaders, network of people who use drugs, youth/ student leaders, community leaders and relevant government institutions; in trainings and dialogue on evidence-based drug policy.

Our advocacy work concerns itself with redirecting the focus of national drug control response from criminalization to a public health response. Our programs emphasize the need for a balanced drug control approach inclusive of drug supply reduction, drug demand and harm reduction. A critical component of our advocacy work is targeted engagement with the criminal justice system to effectively address problems such as mass incarceration, overcrowded prison population, disproportionate sentencing etc. posed by the repressive drug policy in Nigeria.

Key Achievements

In 2017, YouthRISE Nigeria organized the first-ever regional consultation exercise on drug policy reform across geo-political zones in Nigeria. This led to the publication of policy recommendation document – Recommendations for Youth-Centered Drug Policy in Nigeria

Organized the first-ever Drug Policy Academy in Nigeria to build the capacity of next generation of drug policy reform advocates.

Our flagship advocacy campaign – WE ARE PEOPLE continues to gain local and international support. The campaign is also endorsed by the National Orientation Agency in Nigeria.

The program has opened up the dialogue space for drug policy discourse in Nigeria through strategic stakeholders’ engagement.