The Safford City Councilman said he had been drug-free for years before he overdosed on heroin last week.
Republican challenger Chris Taylor was hoping to replace Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran in District 1 this fall. But last week Taylor ended his campaign after he relapsed and overdosed on heroin.
“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,” Taylor said Monday in a Facebook post.
“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.”
Taylor has been outspoken about his struggle with drug addiction that began in high school. After serving two combat tours with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, he started a recovery center that focused on helping veterans. He served as executive director for four years before he was elected to Safford City Council in 2016.
A family member found Taylor unresponsive at his home on Feb. 19, according to AZCentral. After the family member called for help, paramedics arrived and were able to revive Taylor using an opioid reversal drug. Authorities also found intravenous drug paraphernalia at the Safford fire station where Taylor volunteered, the newspaper reported.
Taylor said he plans to “face this head on in complete humility” and is seeking treatment for substance abuse disorder. He thanked his friends, family, and members of his community for supporting him during this difficult time.
Safford Mayor Jason Kouts, who lost his son to an overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl in 2018, said he stands by Taylor.
“I will go to the ends of the earth to help fight this drug epidemic that is affecting our Valley and will be there beside Chris in the long-haul recovery, help in whatever he chooses to do and always hope for the best,” Kouts told the Gila Herald.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there have been more than 35,500 suspected opioid overdoses in the state since mid-2017, resulting in more than 4,000 deaths.