Man falls back into heroin just days out of rehab

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – Heroin is an equal-opportunity drug that doesn’t care about a person’s ethnicity, religion, sex, or financial status. Once the opiate gets its grip on a person, getting it to let go of the mental and physical addiction is a monumental task.

Recently, a man just five days out of a rehab program found that out when he relapsed and used.

Nathan Navarette, 25, was arrested for possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia after being located unconscious and holding a knife in a running vehicle next to the Safford electrical substation in the 2500 block of 8th Avenue.

Safford electric employees located Navarette and called the police. Upon arrival, an officer saw Navarette in the driver’s seat clutching the knife with a small clear baggie on the passenger’s seat that appeared to contain heroin.

After positioning police vehicles in front and behind Navarette’s vehicle, the officers awoke the driver, who immediately dropped the knife and then unlocked his doors as instructed.

Navarette allegedly told the officers that he had recently gotten out of rehab for his addiction to opiates and was sitting in his car “enjoying the high.” He said he was cleaning his fingernails with the knife when he passed out due to the drug.

In addition to the clear baggie of heroin, which was about .2 of a gram, officers also located a usable amount of heroin in another package and drug paraphernalia, including multiple folded and burned pieces of aluminum foil that had apparent drug residue streaks and a drinking straw with a burned end.

Navarette was transported to the Safford Police Department to have his fingerprints taken and requested assistance in dealing with his opiate addiction. It is not known if he is a candidate for the adult drug court program instituted by Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson, which helps those with drug addiction and helps keep people out of incarceration and back to being productive members of society.

Navarette’s vehicle came back as registered to his father, and both the vehicle and Navarette were released to him at the police department.

Locally, two outpatient drug recovery facilities have opened in Safford, click here for more information on those facilities.