Christopher Smith's Family Hopes Death Has "Lasting Worthwhile Impact" for Others Struggling With Addiction

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Christopher Smith
Following our earlier post about Christopher Smith, the former chief of staff for the state Senate found shot to death Saturday, his family contacted New Times and asks that we share with our readers a letter written by Smith's sister.

Phoenix police won't say whether Smith's death was drug related. However, it seems he'd been struggling with drug addiction for about a year prior to his murder.

Smith's family acknowledges his drug use, and hopes his death will serve as an example for others who may be tempted by drugs.

Below is the Smith family's letter in its entirety:

A Call for Compassion

Bad things happen to good people and good families, in this case my brother Christopher Smith's recent untimely death after 50 years of excellence followed by a single year of tragic drug-dependency.

Our gratitude to friends and colleagues of Christopher's who have focused on his true admirable self in recent coverage. He was phenomenally giving, both professionally and personally.

My brother was someone's son. His ailing father wishes only that Christopher's death have some lasting worthwhile impact, perhaps as illustrative of the horrific damage wrought by addiction on an otherwise inexhaustibly positive life.

It is not Christopher's reputation that is at stake, it is the lives of other excellent young husbands, fathers, sons who might be tempted to try crack cocaine even one time. For my brother it was the beginning of the end.

On behalf of our good family I would ask you to consider this letter a call for two things: compassion in the media, and mindful personal choice to simplify our lives.

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Steve Tracy, drug addict
Steve Tracy, drug addict

There are three things in life I am most successful at... shooting (injecting) Heroin, Cocaine and Methamphetamine. After 56 years of life I am still a junkie, and have, quite oddly enough, managed to survive all of my family, my wife, and most of my friends, many of whom never did drugs at all.I have done many naughty things in my years; one cannot support a healthy hundred dollar a day Heroin habit without a personal betrayal here and there. But, on the other hand, I've also been responsible for many acts of true kindness, charity and empathy that have been a benefit to those who have accidentally strayed into my path. One factor of anyone's personal life does not represent the sum-total of who that person was or his value - real or imagined - to this world.Drug use offers an escape from the turmoils of life, and it should not be overlooked that all of us need that escape once in awhile. One does not know how susceptible he/she may be to addiction until the inoccuous experimentation proves them to be an irretrievable addict, and then, unfortunately, it may be too late.I wish every human being in this world nothing but peace and good fortune. And the dope thing, well, I can't endorse it, but the decision is your's to make.


As someone who grew up with Chris, and who lived just a few homes away from he and his family in NJ straight through high school, I knew him to be a creative and kindhearted person. The shock of his death has effected me deeply and I've thought of how his family must be hit hard by this ever since I heard of his death two days ago. I would like them all to know that I absolutely honor their being upfront, both about the way Chris lived and died, so that others may learn from this tragedy. If their honesty could bring someone to keep from taking that one hit that can move a person's life from being productive and loving - to a place of overwhelming need... well... I won't say it will make what happened to Chris worth it, but that at least it can bring about some good... I am thinking of you all, each Smith from the youngest to the oldest. I can see all of your faces and am not naming you in order to preserve your privacy... but you are each in my heart.


Christopher is at peace now, and I hope that the media can respect the privacy of his family so that they can have some peace in their lives too.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Nicely done. I can appreciate how the sister and family might feel. A year and a half ago I lost a nephew to suicide due to his addiction to Oxyconton. He went through rehab twice and the last fall off the wagon was too much for him to bear. Nasty stuff happens to nice people, indeed. I feel very badly for the family and friends who are victims....


If only the federal laws which ostrazice the users of these drugs were not in place, Chris may have lived a productive, useful life - even while using. The prescribed and overseen use of these types of drugs would be much less desctructive than the present situation, which is precisely what got Chris killed.

The drugs did not kill Chris - many people are functional addicts - the laws against their sale, possession and use did. Had Chris only been able to travel to CVS Pharmacy for his "fix" and not deal with some back alley hoodlum, he would be still with us.

Of course, the self-righteous among you readers will be shocked at the suggestion that these drugs be decrimanilized - all the while ingesting your oxycotin and drinking your caffine and beer and smoking your ciggerete. For those, I have one thing to say.

Go Fugk yourself!

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Wrong country. You need to move away to find your nirvana, if you can't get it out of your next fix, legal or not.

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