Levi Johnston’s mom: we don’t understand, she was in pain

Sherry L. Johnston arrested on drugs charges in Wasilla, Alaska

Levi Johnston’s mother was arrested in Wasilla, Alaska the week before Christmas on multiple felony drug charges involving the controlled prescription medication Oxycontin. Reports came out after the arrest that the investigation was purposely delayed due to the US election. Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnston, who is the fiance of former VP candidate Sarah Palins’ daughter, Bristol. 18 year-old Bristol welcomed her first baby, a son named Tripp, on December 18.

Sherry Johnston, 42, pleaded not guilty to the drug charges this Monday. She also made a statement to People Magazine in her defense. Johnston explained that she had a hysterectomy eight years ago and seven subsequent surgeries and that she uses the opiate to deal with the constant pain. She didn’t explain how she was caught dealing it, except to say that the public has the wrong idea:

Speaking for the first time since her Dec. 18 arrest on charges of selling OxyContin, Sherry Johnston – whose son, Levi fathered a son with Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, last month – tells PEOPLE she got hooked on the prescription opiate after a hysterectomy eight years ago, which led to seven additional surgeries.

“I was in pain, and I’m still in pain,” she says.

Johnston, 42, pleaded not guilty at a Jan. 5 arraignment in Palmer, Alaska. “I have been trying for years to deal with the pain,” she says. “I have a medical pump inside me. I’d rather not comment any more but it’s not everything that they’re saying.”

Johnston said has been under a doctor’s care and that she was prescribed OxyContin as a painkiller. Still, the hysterectomy and the subsequent complications forced her to give up her career as a hairstylist because she couldn’t comfortably stay upright. “I am disabled,” she says.

[From People]

I did some half-assed google research and the implanted medical pump Johnston is referring to might be used to deliver local anesthetic to the pain site. That sounds like a horrible way to live for nearly a decade. Opiates should be a short term solution to pain and not something you rely on for years as that can prolong the problem and cause its own issues. Withdrawl from Oxycontin is difficult to say the least and can make the pain more intense, leading sufferers to go back to the drug. It’s awful to suffer chronic pain and it’s a huge trade off to go on an opiate for relief, only to end up addicted. Many people are hurting so badly that they don’t feel they have any other options.

If it’s true that Sherry Johnston was selling a controlled substance to friends it’s illegal and there’s no excuse. Maybe she thinks it’s justified or something because she couldn’t work.

Sherry’s son Levi Johnston, 18, recently quit his job as an electrician’s apprentice on an oil rig when reporters questioned whether he was qualified for the position. Johnston is a high school drop out and regulations require that all electrician apprentices hold high school diplomas.

Sherry has one bright spot amid all the scandal in her family. She says she’s “very excited” about her newborn grandson, Tripp, and that he “looks just like Levi.”

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29 Responses to “Levi Johnston’s mom: we don’t understand, she was in pain”

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  1. boomchakaboom says:

    Yeah, umhmmm, you betcha.

  2. photo jojo says:

    I have to give this lady the benefit of the doubt here a little… I am NO Sarah Palin fan, but chronic pain is just unbearable and opiates are sometimes the only thing that helps… the addiction issue is one that should be carefully monitored against, but lots of docs don’t do that well.

  3. boomchakaboom says:

    photojojo: her ‘pain’ doesn’t really explain why she was selling her pain meds. Seems like she would have needed them herself to you know, battle the pain.

  4. Kaiser says:

    If she was arrested for simple possession of a controlled substance, her “pain” excuse would be justified. But she was dealing. No excuse.

  5. bros says:

    i LOVE her purple scrunchie. SO wasilla, with the combo coach bag.

    what a disfunctional state full of freaks. oxycontin is a huge problem in alaska. my mom just told me a couple of kids died recently from overdosing on it up there. died from oxycontin. thats a really hard thing to do. she should be fined and spend a little time in jail. she doesnt need to be facilitating other addicts. if she wants to be one from surgery and chronic pain, fine, but she shouldnt profit from it and turn others into addicts.

  6. AnnaClaire says:

    People who are very poor sometimes have to do things to keep a roof over their heads that other, more properous citizens would condemn.
    If you have a disability, you’re usually poor.
    I feel sorry for her.

  7. mel says:

    I dont get it, if she’s poor how can she afford to carry a coach bag?

  8. Trillion says:

    She and Rush can have a hillbilly heroin party together! (unless he’s busy in Dominican Republic with a suitcase of viagra again…)

  9. Leandra says:

    Dealing? Loser and liar

  10. california angel says:

    One of my friends had gallbladder surgery and became hooked on OxyContin.
    Their tolerance became extremely high and they would hand them out like candy.
    A mutual friend of the both of us overdosed on them and they both learned their lesson very quickly, to say the least. That is definetly not something you want to just pass around/deal.

  11. MomInNH says:

    Her medication was…well.. for HER. Not for her to dole out to people like tic-tacs. And as far as the excuse of being poor goes, it’s a poor excuse. Just because she labels herself as disabled doesn’t mean she is. There are plenty of jobs that don’t require a person to stand for long periods of time.

  12. photo jojo says:

    Boomch: you’re right. I just hate that this family got caught up in the Palin drama. It seems unfair to have it all over national news, but that’s just me.

  13. Clare says:

    Wonder if Sarah Palin will reach out to her in her time of need?

  14. Many people don’t understand that Oxycontin is essentially heroin created in a laboratory – it is a synthetic copy of H, and its effects on the nervous system are nearly identical (especially when crushed and sniffed).

    No doctor in their right minds would medicate chronic pain with Oxy. It’s incredibly dangerous and short-sighted (not to mention expensive!). Either she’s full of lies, or she found an in with a corrupt med student. I wonder just how much of it she had on her, especially when considering she faces six felony drug charges.

    Rush Limbaugh had an addiction to Oxycontin. Entitled birds of a feather. . .

  15. daisy424 says:

    @Jaundice, I do agree with most of what you said but,
    there are doctors out there who do medicate their chronic pain patients with Oxy, my Mother was one of them.
    Not only was she prescribed Oxy, but Methadone also. She was weaned off of these drugs in rehab after a hip replacement. She went through hell and back. Addiction is a bitch, we are mere mortals after all.

    @Kaiser, amen.

  16. Daisy – What a nightmare! I’m so sorry to hear of your mother’s painful ordeal. To prescribe such a heavy narcotic like Oxycontin for such a prolonged period of time seems negligent and dangerous to me – unethical at the very least. Granted, I’m not a med student, but I’ve had quite a bit of experience (both real-world and academic) with this particular drug to know the hell it wrecks on your nervous system.

    Your mother must be a very strong woman to fend off prescription addiction. I’d love to give her a big hug and warm accolades!

  17. daisy424 says:

    Jaundice, thanks, I appreciate that, cyber hug back at you.

    Unfortunately, Mom got back on the Oxy & Methadone. The pain from lack of cartilage in her ankle was too much for her, so she claimed. She never would believe that most of the ‘pain’ was actually symptoms of withdrawal.

    The drugs worked too good; They masked the pain of stage 4 cancer and she died a month after she was diagnosed.

    After her death two years ago, we found over 300 Oxy pills she had stashed throughout the house, she had been hoarding/hiding them for years.

    I truly think she never saw anything wrong with her drug use because they were prescribed by a doctor. Like I said, addiction is a bitch. Look how it’s been working out for Amy W.

  18. Kerri says:

    OxyContin is a drug that was originally prescribed for terminal cancer patients. It is NOT a maintenance drug, although every quack on the face of the planet gives it out like candy these days. The original purpose of OxyContin was to make the little bit of time that TERMINAL cancer patients have less painful, and improve quality of life versus no pain treatment. And it’s NOT hard to OD on OxyContin. People do it all the time, just like they develop a tolerance for it and have to take quantities well above the recommended dosage. Chronic pain is one thing; using OxyContin as a pain maintenance drug is entirely another. I’ve watched medical practice rosters skyrocket based on whether or not they prescribe it. (I’ve worked in pharmacy for 17 years.) I’ve also watched people who would normally balk at taking Advil over the counter swallow bottles of this stuff just because a doctor prescribed it. Seriously, we had one patient at pharmacy where I worked who was taking, at last count, about 2500mg a DAY, which is almost 3 times the recommended maximum daily dosage. And this was a person who was walking around, going to work, and DRIVING on a daily basis.

    Who knows. Maybe Sherry Johnston was selling the meds so that she could afford to doctor hop. That’s what most people who don’t -need- OxyContin end up doing anyways.

  19. CeeJay says:

    If you’re not a physician or chronic pain patient you probably are not qualified to judge what medication is right for which patient. Having said that (sorry, just tired of uninformed people with strong opinions spouting like they’re experts) if this woman was caught distributing her controlled substances to others than she has violated the contract she has (or had) with her pain doctor. These types of drugs are NOT prescribed without careful monitoring and legal contracts clearly spelling out the consequences of sharing the medication. In fact, most contracts require that the meds be kept under lock and key and cannot be stock piled among many other terms. Every time a pain patient does something like this they hurt the proper care and treatment of other chronic pain patients who use their medications responsibly and respectfully. Oxy may not be the best choice, but it IS USED regularly for both cancer and chronic pain treatment. The whole subject of chronic pain is far too diverse and complicated to sum up into one judgmental statement or opinion. Again, if you have not been there, please don’t make off handed judgments about chronic pain and the use of certain medications.

  20. Baholicious says:

    God forbid anybody smoke a spliff to help manage their pain…the authorities and big pharma just can’t HAVE that.

  21. boomchakaboom says:

    Baho, ain’t it the truth? THC has known medical benefits, grows like a weed (tee-hee), and anybody can produce it, just like tomatoes. It’s my firm belief that the paramilitary operations that keep us from growing our own little medicinal herb are directly responsible for the rise in meth and other trash of that ilk – to the detriment of society in general. Not to mention how many ordinary citizens are turned into criminals because of ridiculous federal regulations concerning its use/production. Also not to mention the majority of Americans agree pot should be decriminalized. Democracy, anyone? Hello? Anyone?

  22. Baholicious says:

    Exactly Boom, Reefer Madness for sure except we know where the madness really lies!

  23. boomchakaboom says:

    Baho, yet we can pull up to drive thru windows and legally purchase all the booze we can stuff into our car. No matter what they say about the ‘dangers’ of pot, alcohol destroys godknowshowmany lives, but it’s acceptable and legal. Bullshit. Talk about hypocrisy – and stupidity.

  24. Daisy – terribly sorry to hear of it. What a terrible burden for both you and your family. My deepest condolences, and cyber-hugs.

    CeeJay – I may not be formally trained from a medical standpoint, but I have friends who are dead and relationships that are buried under the weight of an Oxycontin addiction. I’ve done a lot of independent research on the subject from psycho-physiological and legal standpoints, in conjunction with the tearful, sleepless nights I’ve spent in bed with a man I loved who became a stranger to me. It is heartwrenching.

    In my opinion, prescribing Oxycontin for long-term pain management is irresponsible and dangerous. Bear in mind – I’m not slamming the patients who take Oxy under doctor’s orders, I’m just questioning the motive of the individuals who prescribe Oxy for relief. It is a highly addictive narcotic that ruins your nervous system (which in turn destroys your immune system – counterintuitive for most people seeking medical help). There are other alternatives to chronic pain management that are far more copasetic to the physiology and healing process (Baho happened to mention one of my favorite).

    That’s just my opinion. But my opinion is just as valid as yours. Don’t take that away from me.

  25. Persistent Cat says:

    Regarding the Coach purse, I’m quite certain it’s a fake. It’s all mangled looking and looks like it’s fraying a little.

  26. Trillion says:

    This is not about Oxycontin but I want to say to Daisy that hers a horrible story and my heart goes out to you. My mom died of cancer at age 55 only 8 weeks after diagnosis. She had a rotten doc, whom we later found out had been sued for malpractice in other states. My sister died of cancer at age 41, also 8 weeks after diagnosis, after suffering a sort of “garden variety” back pain. She refused pain meds but her shitty doctor (damn HMO) kept making her feel like it was all in her head. She paid out of pocket for a different doc and he looked at her xray and, right then and there, told her she was riddled with adeno-carcinoma, a rapidly metastasizing cancer. I’m not so trustful of doctors these days…

  27. Trillion says:

    Baho: yes yes yes. My bro has Crohn’s disease and there is only one way he can keep weight on and live with his pain: Medical MJ. (he’s not a pot smoker but used marisol pills) We live in Cali where we voted to legalize this but the feds won’t let it be. Waste of $ for busting cannabis clubs, waste of $ using drugs instead of an herb.

  28. daisy424 says:

    @Trillion, my heart breaks for you, I am so sorry. I am blown away by the age of your Mom & sister when they died, they were so young.
    I have struggled with how fast cancer took my Mom. I live in a different state than my folks and I only got to spend 5 days with her before she died.
    After reading your comments, I can’t even imagine what you and your family must have gone through holding it together after losing two family members to cancer. I don’t know your age but I hope that with your family medical history that you routinely have testing and check-ups.

    ***I agree about legalizing MJ, medical or not***

  29. RaraAvis says:

    OxyContin abuse is an issue with some of my family members. They will do anything to justify their use of the drug. On the other hand, marijuana users do not develop a tolerance. Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?