Arizona Army Veteran Running for Congress Suspends Campaign After Overdosing on Heroin

An Army veteran running for Congress in Arizona has suspended his campaign after overdosing on heroin.

Chris Taylor, a city councilman in Safford, was found unresponsive at home by his wife last Wednesday, The Gila Herald reported. She performed chest compression until paramedics arrived and revived him.

Authorities also found items linked to intravenous drug use at the Safford Fire Department, where Taylor volunteers, according to The Arizona Republic.

The incident last week was a relapse for Taylor, who has battled an addiction to opioids since he was in high school, according to the newspaper.

In a statement provided to Newsweek, Taylor said he was suspending his campaign and will be seeking treatment.

"I have suspended my campaign for the US House of Representatives and am seeking treatment for substance abuse disorder," he said. "I will fully cooperate with local authorities on any matters arising from my recent relapse and overdose."

Taylor added that he had relapsed after years of sobriety and has to "figure out what went wrong."

He added: "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."

He added: "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."

"I want to face this head-on while addressing the stigma associated with addiction," Taylor added to Newsweek. "Any way I can make a positive out of this horrible ordeal I want to do that."

Taylor was running for the Republican nomination in Arizona's 1st Congressional District in a bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran.

The married father of two served two combat tours in Afghanistan after enlisting in the Army as a psychological warfare specialist, according to his campaign website.

His campaign website also says he founded a non-profit organization called Desert Eagle Addiction Recovery in 2014, which is "dedicated to helping individuals, especially fellow combat veterans, suffering from drug addiction."

As the organization's executive director, Taylor "has been able to help countless individuals find recovery and the help they need to become healthy, productive members of society again."

On his campaign website, Taylor explained how the opioid epidemic in the U.S. should be tackled by placing funds in the private sector and non-profit organizations, by securing the U.S.-Mexico border and by "cracking down" on the addiction treatment industry.

"My heart breaks for the thousands of families crippled by the evil scourge of drug addiction," he wrote on the website.

"A whole generation is being wiped out because of ineffective policies and our inability to stop the heroin and fentanyl from flowing across the southern border like a raging river."

Safford City Council and the Safford Fire Department have both been contacted for comment.

Safford City building
Stock photo shows a city building in Safford, Arizona. An Army veteran and Safford city council has suspended his Congressional campaign after overdosing on heroin last week. Getty