A military veteran who was running for Congress in Arizona announced he is suspending his campaign on Monday after he reportedly overdosed on heroin.
“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,” Chris Taylor told CNN. “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.
Taylor, who is a city council member in Safford, Arizona, said that he relapsed after staying sober for “many solid years.”
After enlisting in the U.S. Army in 2007, he served two combat tours in Iraq. Taylor said he used drugs to cope with the numerous traumatic experiences he had while in Iraq.
“The horrors I witnessed on the battlefield came home with me and like many veterans, I didn’t know how to cope. I sought help at the VA but fell victim to a government that forgot its promises. I began misusing prescriptions and developed an opioid addiction. It was a long road to recovery,” he said in a campaign video, according to the broadcaster.
Taylor was running for the Republican nomination for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, which is currently held by Rep. Tom O’Halleran, a Democrat.
A family member had discovered Taylor unresponsive in his home on Wednesday night, reported Gila Herald.
Officials also allegedly discovered drug paraphernalia at the Safford Fire Department, where Taylor has volunteered, according to the Arizona Republic.
The mayor of Safford, Jason Couts, blamed his overdose on the drug epidemic plaguing the United States.
“As far as Maria and I, we know the touch of drugs and my heart aches for them as a family. 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,” he said in a statement to the Herald.
There are several other Republicans who are seeking their party’s nomination ahead of the 2020 election, including cotton farmer and lawyer Tiffany Shedd, who also has the backing of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), as noted by the Republic.
President Donald Trump won Arizona’s 1st Congressional District by 1 percentage point over Hillary Clinton in 2016.