A combat veteran running for U.S. Congress in Arizona announced on Monday that he’s suspending his campaign after overdosing on heroin last week.
Chris Taylor, a city councilman in Safford, located about 165 miles east of Phoenix, said in a statement first told to The Arizona Republic that he “relapsed after having so many years of solid sobriety.”
Taylor, a Republican, was found unresponsive in his home Wednesday night and revived at the scene, he confirmed to HuffPost. Paramedics administered a dose of Narcan to help reverse the effects of the overdose, reported The Gila Herald.
“I know the way back,” Taylor, 33, told HuffPost of his path forward after relapsing. “I just have to put one foot in front of the other and get the help I need.”
Taylor said he’s entering a residential treatment program to address his opiate addiction, which he has been candid about since jumping into the race last May.
“The experiences that I’ve had with opiate addiction and being able to overcome that and inspire and help others to find that recovery as well are a source of strength,” he said at the time.
Taylor, who served two tours of combat duty for the Army in Afghanistan, said he has resigned from his position as a volunteer firefighter with the Safford Fire Department. He said he’s also taking a medical leave of absence from the city council while he enters treatment.
Authorities found “items related to intravenous drug use” at the fire department the night Taylor overdosed, the Herald reported. He said in his statement that he will “fully cooperate” with local authorities regarding his drug use.
“I’m not going to hide from this,” Taylor said in his statement. “I’m not ashamed of what happened. I wish to sincerely apologize to the amazing people who have supported me. I don’t know what went wrong.”
“The only thing I can do is face this head on in complete humility,” he added. “I’m human and I have never pretended to be anything but.”
Taylor had been seeking the Republican nomination in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, which is currently represented by Democratic incumbent Rep. Tom O’Halleran. At least four other Republicans and three Democrats are vying for O’Halleran’s seat.
Read Taylor’s full statement below:
Today, I have suspended my campaign for the US House of Representatives and am seeking treatment for substance abuse disorder. I will fully cooperate with local authorities on any matters arising from my recent relapse and overdose. Please respect the privacy of my wife and children as we deal with this situation.
I’m not going to hide from this. I’m not ashamed of what happened. I wish to sincerely apologize to the amazing people who have supported me. I don’t know what went wrong. I recently relapsed after having so many solid years in sobriety. I have to figure out where I went wrong. Thankfully I have every resource available to me through the Veterans Affairs Administration and I have the strongest support system one could dream of. My family stands behind me 100% and I feel the love and prayers of our amazing Gila Valley Community. I haven’t been able to respond to each of you yet but I have been overwhelmed by the amount of people who have reached out to me in love and understanding.
The only thing I can do is face this head on in complete humility and put one foot in front of the other so that I can get the help needed to be the father and husband that my family deserves. I’m human and I have never pretended to be anything but. I know that through the Grace of my loving savior Jesus Christ I will be restored to full health and bounce back from this and be stronger than ever.
Need help with substance use disorder or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.