Levi Johnston's Mother Tries to Explain Drug Arrest

Filed under: In The News

Sherry Johnston -- Levi Johnston's mother, and Bristol Palin's presumptive mother-in-law -- is explaining how she wound up getting arrested last month on drug charges. Johnston, who has been charged with six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance, told People magazine that she got hooked on painkillers after a hysterectomy that went wrong.

Johnston claims that she had a hysterectomy eight years ago, and subsequently required seven additional surgeries to deal with complications. "I was in pain, and I'm still in pain," she says. "I have been trying for years to deal with the pain. I'd rather not comment any more but it's not everything that they're saying." The string of surgeries and the accompanying chronic pain forced the 42-year-old to abandon her career as a hairdresser.

Palin Family Album

    Sherry Johnston, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston's other grandma -- besides Sarah Palin -- pled not guilty for charges of selling OxyContin. "I was in pain, and I'm still in pain," she told People.com.

    Al Grillo, AP

    "We both love each other," Levi Johnston, 18, told the AP in a rare interview about his relationship with 18-year-old Bristol Palin. "We both want to marry each other. And that's what we are going to do."

    Paul Sancya, AP

    "Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned," the Palins's statement said when they announced her pregnancy. "As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows that she has our unconditional love and support."

    Robyn Beck, AFP/Getty Images

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd have five children: Track, 19, Bristol, 18, (with Levi Johnston), Willow, 14, Piper, 7, and Trig, 8 months. (not pictured).

    Fredy Perojo, AOL

    Chuck Heath, 70, (pictured with wife Sally), Sarah Palin's father, said gift boxes for his newest grandson are piling up in the governor's mail room from all over the world. There's no way the family will ever be able to answer every letter, he said, although they are trying.

    Charlie Neibergall, AP

    Sarah Palin initially hid her pregnancy with Trig from the public, causing rumors that Trig was her grandson via Bristol.

    Win McNamee, Getty Images

    "Trig is beautiful and already adored by us," read a statement by the Palin when Trig was born on April 18. "We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed."

    Paul J. Richards, AFP / Getty Images

    Gov. Sarah Palin, her husband Todd, and daughters Bristol,16, right, and Piper, 5, at the end of a 2006 inauguration ceremony in Fairbanks. Palin, 42, is the first female and youngest governor of Alaska.

    Al Grillo, AP

    Then-Republican U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, her daughters, Piper, Willow, and husband Todd walk out onto the ice to drop the ceremonial first puck before a St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings hockey game.

    Whitney Curtis, Getty Images

    Levi Johnston called himself a "redneck' on his MySpace page.

    Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Johnston also claims that she was prescribed OxyContin by the physician managing her care. Okay, sure, but it doesn't exactly explain why she texted a police informant back in October, to arrange to sell him the drug. Or why she was caught on tape selling the drug to an informant was wearing a camera and a microphone.

It's not entirely implausible that Johston got hooked on painkillers as the result of an actual medical issue; she wouldn't be the first person to find herself in that position. Remember when Rush Limbaugh came clean about his addiction to OxyContin and hyrocodone? He claimed to have gotten hooked after back surgery, and checked himself into rehab. Of course, he wasn't selling the stuff to his neighbors, he was just taking way too much of it himself.

It's hard not to feel for Sherry Johnston. She has a brand new grandbaby, who she says looks "just like Levi," but instead of enjoying her role as the Nana, she's facing jail time for second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance. And of course, since little Tripp's other grandma is Sarah Palin, the media are parked right outside her house. That can't be fun for her.

But it's also difficult to really believe her story -- if she were addicted to painkillers, wouldn't she be more interested in BUYING them than in SELLING them?

What do you think -- is Sherry Johnston telling the truth? Do you buy the story of pain management gone wrong? Or there something else going on here?

Sherry Johnston's story is ...
entirely plausible - chronic pain is a horrible thing.902 (8.9%)
possible, but only barely - why was she SELLING the drugs?4108 (40.5%)
a complete crock - she's a dealer, plain and simple.5137 (50.6%)

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