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How Jackie Chandiru Overcame Her Drug Addiction


How Jackie Chandiru Overcame Her Drug Addiction

Singer Jackie Chandiru.

A gripping tale of triumph after many stumbles

One of Uganda’s best known female singers Jackie Chandiru has successfully recovered from a drug addiction that took her to the verge of death.

In moving personal testimonies she shared with NBS TV viewers over the past Sundays, as a guest on the popular Chatroom show hosted by Karitas Karisimbi, Chandiru revealed that she survived five suicide attempts.

The openness and courage she displayed on the show, coupled with the testimony of her doctor, means that Jackie has turned the corner from perhaps the biggest epidemic of celebrity world – drugs.

But in one of the shows, watched by this reporter, Jackie’s tell-all account of the drugs ordeal was unprecedented for an artist of her stature.

While now recovered from the physical wounds and numerous surgeries, Jackie says she wants to make a comeback to the singing profession but in a different format, perhaps as a campainger against drugs, which now does through motivational speeches in Nairobi, Kenya.

Chandiru went to lengths during the Chatroom show, to reveal in detail the effects of drugs on her.

She said: “You feel that every part of your body is hurting. You feel your legs wobbly and they are too weak to hold your body. Then you feel something is crawling beneath your skin. It’s like you have an open sore and someone puts pepper in it.

She said some of the more painful effects are the withdraw symptoms of trying to quit the drugs. She said these are more painful than those she experienced before she was a regular drugs user.

Because of the pain associated with tring to quit and the fear thereof, she instead got hooked onto the drugs longer than she wanted to.

She described the effects of constant use of the Pathidine injections and the subsequent efforts to try to repair her scars, as a process in which she saw herself rotting away day after day.

“I had wounds all over my arms and legs. And despite the medication I took, the wounds refused to heal. Instead they were turning pink” says Chandiru, who now lives in Nairobi where she miraculously got advanced medical treatment.

Her emotional trauma was compounded by financial ruin that came from paying for the expensive drugs.

Chandiru revealed that at some point, she would use up to 20 vials of the prescription drug Pathidine which would cost her about UGX500,000 in a day.
But the relief she got from using the drugs was only temporary.

What followed after the injections, was untold body pain, emotional distress and total loss of self esteem that drove her to try to commit suicide.

She described these as the withdraw effects of the drugs. And the longer she delayed to add more drugs to her blood stream the worse the pain got.

“My body wasn’t responding to treatment and my wounds were not healing. Instead they were turning pink. I got worried and I opted for surgery. The wounds were not healing,” Chandiru adds.

“Every part of my body was hurting. I underwent reconstructive surgery (where they cut flesh from one part to repair other parts) but my body refused to match,” Chandiru said that this even heightened her anxiety, taking her the point that she felt she wanted to die after realising she would never be able to expose her beautiful body before her fans, which had become her trademark style of performing.

“I took overdoses of the drug, I tried several combinations of similar drugs {to try to take her life} but God kept me alive,” she said.

While she wanted to die, God had other plans for the award-winning artist.
Fortunately, Chandiru martialed strength and courage, and with encouragement from peers like Mesach Ssemakula, Balaam, her former Blue 3 bandmate Lillian Mbabazi plus her mother she kept alive.

She hailed God for having kept her alive through the trying period, during which she managed to show up and perform even while she was nursing wounds. This helped her raise money for further treatment.

She decided to wear pullovers so she could go out and make some money for her treatment.

The scale of her will power to fight on could therefore be judged by the way she was able to raise, or at least agree to raise US300,000 that was needed for the stem cell treatment.

Having battled the addiction for several years, Chandiru signalled that her appearance on national television to speak about the horror she endured, is a signal that she has made full recovery.
Chandiru’s turning point came when someone identified her and sought to assist her.

Perhaps God was speaking to her that she opened up to Dr. Sylvia Chesang, a Kenyan, who convinced her to opt for an advanced treatment developed using Stem cell technology.

Chandiru said she Chesang took her to Nairobi where she started taking the medication, while also undergoing emotional treatment.

After a few weeks of taking the Stemcell medication, Chandiru said her wounds healed, but more importantly perhaps, she recovered her esteem and accepted her mistakes.

While on Chatroom, Chandiru said she is waiting for the right moment before she can come out and show her scars so that others can avoid making the same mistake she did.



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