Back from rehab, Maricopa County Attorney Adel says she’s staying on job

Sep 24, 2021, 12:45 PM | Updated: 2:00 pm
(Screenshot/Maricopa County Attorney's Office YouTube)...
(Screenshot/Maricopa County Attorney's Office YouTube)
(Screenshot/Maricopa County Attorney's Office YouTube)

PHOENIX – After returning from treatment for alcohol abuse, Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel said Friday she was confident in her ability to do her job and was not stepping down, as some have suggested.

The Maricopa County Democratic Party called on Adel to step down Sept. 16 after her rehab stint was made public six days before.

“People are going to say what they’re going to say … I am not going to resign. I was elected to do a job and I am confident that I can execute my duties,” Adel told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Friday.

Adel returned to work Monday three weeks after she entered a California facility for alcohol abuse and an eating disorder, what she called “unhealthy coping behaviors.”

She had been in treatment for nearly two weeks before her office announced she had taken a leave of absence.

The Arizona Republic reported Sept. 14 that Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone gave her office 24 hours to disclose to Adel’s absence from work to the county Board of Supervisors.

“It was always my plan to come forward,” Adel said. “I’m in a public position and people need to know where I am and what I’m doing.

“The timing of it … was simply on the advice of my medical team of when I was ready to make such an announcement. My family was going to be impacted by this. I relied on the guidance of the medical professionals about when the appropriate time was to do so.”

Adel sought in-patient services in Arizona for anxiety and “unhealthy coping behaviors,” on Aug. 29, then signed in to the California site a week later.

Getting help, she said, “shouldn’t be shameful.”

Adel said there wasn’t a particular moment she realized she had a problem.

“I could see that I wasn’t coping well, especially during shelter in place. It was almost an excuse and it wasn’t an appropriate one.”

She went back to the office Monday.

“I wasn’t sure how I was going to be received, but it was a warm welcome,” Adel said.

The county’s top prosecutor also said her office would continue implementing diversion programs for certain low-level offenders, “especially those that want to do better and be better. I can empathize on a personal level taking a treatment-first approach to prosecution.”

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Back from rehab, Maricopa County Attorney Adel says she’s staying on job