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Long-term health issues plague meth users

AAP logoAAP 31/10/2016 Rebecca Gredley

A recovering WA ice addict who nearly died this year continues to be plagued by health issues despite being clean for three months.

In the past week, Taylor Pugh, 25, has been diagnosed with gout as his kidneys are unable to process uric acid, causing his joints to swell painfully, as well as low haemoglobin levels requiring treatment in hospital.

He nearly died in February after contracting septicaemia and pneumonia, linked to three years of methamphetamine use.

Mr Pugh has been clean for three months, has weekly blood tests, exercises and eats well, but is still facing serious health issues from his addiction.

His mother, Lina Pugh, who runs Doors Wide Open in Bunbury, a support and education centre for people wanting to recover from ice addiction, said doctors hadn't expected these recent diagnoses as the long-term effects of meth use were not yet known.

"We're not going to know the consequences for another five to 10 years until we start to see the fallout from it," she told AAP.

"It's an ongoing thing with his body and we're working out how to manage that."

Ms Pugh is raising money to open a crisis care clinic so she can support more people in the community, and also runs the Facebook page "Ice in Bunbury. A Mother's Nightmare", which she created to share her experiences with Taylor.

Another community-based program, Shalom House, a residential rehab centre for men in the Swan Valley, is involved in a court battle to remain open based on planning grounds.

The City of Swan is taking the State Administrative Tribunal to the Supreme Court of WA over its decision to allow Shalom House to operate.

The hearing will be in 2017.

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