Safford city councilman suspends congressional campaign following heroin relapse and overdose

A Safford city councilmember has suspended his campaign for Congress after suffering a heroin overdose.

On Monday, Chris Taylor says he's seeking treatment for substance abuse.

FOX 10 first met Taylor in 2017, in a story on the opioid problem plaguing Safford, an Eastern Arizona city located about 165 miles (ca. 266 km) southeast of Phoenix. FOX 10 also interviewed Taylor in 2018.

“The only way I can describe it to people is that it's just a living nightmare,” said Taylor at the time. “Your every waking moment has to be dedicated to finding your next drug, your next hit.”

Taylor, a veteran who fought off addiction to open his own treatment center, was poised to be the success story for Safford. A successful run for city council drove Taylor to run for Congress.

“I was just involved in a lot of things in the community, and I was seeing results with my organization and with other people, and I had this idea that I wanted to take it a step further,” said Taylor.

Taylor went backwards, however, as old demons resurfaced. There was a relapse that resulted in an overdose.

Taylor Releases Statement

In a statement on the suspension of his Congressional campaign, Taylor was direct.

"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."

Expert reacts

"It’s really sad to hear these kind of stories, especially when you have somebody who's made such an effort to turn their life around," said Dr. Ravi Chandiramani with Soul Surgery Scottsdale, in a phone interview.

It's a haunting reminder of a dark past that will always be looking over the shoulder of a bright future.

“It's always there in the background. It waits for the right opportunity to creep back up to the surface, and if you let it in, you let it gain a foothold again,” said Dr. Chandiramani. “Unfortunately, we've seen some very strong people in recovery fall."