Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sherry Johnston and her weekly UA's. Something about this simply does not make sense to me.

Last Thursday I was in Wasilla doing some research, and afterwards I had planned to stop by and see Sherry and Mercede Johnston.  On my way out of town I reveived a text message from Sadie saying that they were not sure they could meet with me because they had just learned that Sherry had to undergo her court ordered weekly urine analysis that morning. (Sherry never knows until she calls in the morning whether or not she has one that day or not.)

Later it turned out that they finished fairly quickly and I was able to stop on by as planned.

While I was there I started to think about the UA and so I asked Sherry what they were testing her for, since her urine would contain, not only the Oxycontin that she was convicted of selling, but also the medications that are delivered to her system through a drug pump (Bupivacaine and Fentanyl).

Sherry said that she was told that if any OTHER substances were found in her system that she would then be considered in violation of the rules of her house arrest.

That kind of strikes as ridiculous.

Sherry was convicted for selling her own doctor prescribed medications.  She did not buy drugs from an illegal source and then sell it on the streets of Wasilla.  She simply sold her own medications on three separate occasions (only ten at a time) to an undercover drug informant who reached out to her and talked her into doing so.  Sherry had no prior arrests and no history of illegal drug use.

So my question is WHY does she have to suffer the humiliation of random urine testing? 

Since her arrest had no connection to illegal drug use, and she is allowed to continue to take the medications prescribed by her doctor, what the hell are they spending the money on drug tests for?

Sherry told me that she is not even allowed to have a beer (Though I don't think she would anyhow due to how it might interact with the medications already in her system), and that rinsing her mouth with Lysterine or taking Nyquil would cause her to fail her urine test.  Does THAT seem fair?

Okay part of this post was just me venting, but I am also very curious as to whether this is standard practice for somebody convicted of selling drugs or if it is just another example of how the Johnston family continues to get a raw deal at every turn.

Update:  Okay well it appears that this is pretty standard for a felony drug conviction. I guess the reason that it struck me as excessive is because of the circumstances surrounding just how Sherry came to sell her medications in the Fred Meyer parking lot in the first place.  But I guess when it comes to sentencing that is probably not a consideration.

By the way Sherry is working on her own post about the her drug conviction and will hopefully have it ready this week.  Some of you have read my previous posts on the subject but there are more details that I did not cover which are very interesting indeed.


  1. Beer wont show up in a urine test. Only a DOT type saliva test or a blood test. And mouthwash wont trigger the .02 threshold of a DOT type test.

    Yeah...something smells. Not sure what but dont get played here.

  2. Anonymous5:03 PM

    This is standard throughout the country.

  3. Anonymous5:06 PM

    My sister is on the same drugs...
    she is tested to make sure they are in her system - that means she isn't selling them. I think it's just because they are powerful street drugs and they want to make sure she is using them for herself.

    Lots of people with pain are on them and have to be tested. Maybe different reasons, with the same result.

  4. Anonymous5:13 PM

    and NO poppy seeds on a bagel!

  5. mocha5:24 PM

    I think random drug testing can be a condition of almost any home confinement order or probation. The operative word being 'random'. Weekly seems a little excessive. Sounds like someone would really like her to mess up and catch her at it. How much longer is her home confinement sentence?

  6. SME1315:26 PM

    It's all pretty standard Gryphen. A lot of people must submit to drug testing including those convicted of crimes unrelated to drugs.

  7. Does Sherry have a copy of the paperwork she signed ie: terms of parole?

    I found a little info from California:
    Usually, willingness to undergo the tests at any
    time is made a condition of parole; they are used
    at the discretion of the parole officer. Subjects
    come to testing centers in the metropolitan areas
    at specified times, or are brought in for testing by

    here This is a .pdf file...hope it helps!

  8. Gryphen, when I worked in a halfway house, ALL of our residents were required to do drug tests. It is a condition of parole, probation, prerelease, any kind of home monitoring as well as in prisons and jails. I know it seems rediculous, but selling and abusing often go hand in hand. At the time of someones arrest, they may test clean, but that doesn't mean they don't abuse drugs.

    House arrest is a form of confinement that is cheaper to administer and is in response to prison over crowding. Technically, Sherry is confined so she isn't allowed to enjoy certain priveleges that you and I can, which includes drinking alcohol. The only way to ensure that is through testing.

    I know it doesn't seem fair, but it makes no sense to put someone like Sherry, who is a low risk in prison when she can rehabilitate herself at home.

  9. Anonymous6:00 PM

    A standard UA will not detect alcohol in the system - it has to be sent to a lab to be analyzed. Lab analysis can detect alcohol in the system up to 5 days from use. However, it costs between $25-$30 per UA and it's about a one-week turnaround for results. The fastest way to detect alcohol is to use the breathalyzer, but there's a small window for detection - a few hours at best. Don't know what to tell you, Gryph, except that she really pissed off (literally and figuratively) She Who Must Not Be Named. And yes, it's beyond not fair.

  10. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Kinda OT- My son is a semi-driver out of Denver, any time any of the drivers are involved in any kind of accident they have to go to the nearest drug testing facility to be drug tested.. I think this should be a policy with all trucking companys.

  11. Anonymous6:14 PM

    Once a week does seem excessive but I don't know if that is standard. I know Fentanyl is potent. That may be why she is tested so often?

    "She simply sold her own medications on three separate occasions (only ten at a time) to an undercover drug informant who reached out to her and talked her into doing so. Sherry had no prior arrests and no history of illegal drug use."

    I am curious why the undercover drug informant who reached out to her and talked her into doing so has never been named. Do you know the reason for that? As I recall there were two and one or both knew the Johnstons. We have drug busts and often informants are identified. The best informants are those that have been in the business and have a clientele. Did the informants do anytime or did they get off for receiving illegal medication in the mail? I think they were caught with a shipment and made a deal to get Sherry. Something like that.

    It would be of value to go back over this story and update the facts as they are known to date.

  12. Anonymous6:21 PM

    My mom got a DUI on her 70th Birthday (no shit, she really did). She is now doing a year of probation, which means they could, at any time, randomly drug test her. They haven't, but they could.

  13. Gryphen, since you seem to have developed a fairly close relationship with Mercede and her mother, can you ask Sadie who the baby she was holding in the Palin's kitchen belongs to? The one everyone calls Ruffles.

    Sadie said she thought it was Trig. How could that be when Trig was about three weeks old and living in the Palin home?

    How do you hold a baby and not know who it belongs to?

    You don't have to invade anyone's privacy...just let us know if it is a relative, friend, whatever and that he/she is o.k.


  14. Anonymous6:46 PM

    Off topic - I just got a robocall from WGE. My response to her ranting "F...Y.., Sarah Palin!" CLICK!

  15. Aussie Blue Sky6:47 PM

    I look forward to any post from Sherry but it could just as easily be about her garden or how she spends her days.

  16. AKRNC7:03 PM

    I have a friend who works in probation and asked her about this. Her reply was that if someone had been clean for all this time, they would not waste the time or the money of the state to check her UA on a regular basis. After all, Sherry is on narcotics to help control her chronic pain, as far as I remember reading, this was her first and only offense and she has complied with all the rules of house arrest to this point. It sounds, Gryphen, like someone is having fun pulling her strings because apparently what I was told is that her method is the same as those she works with and it's fairly concrete throughout each state .With Sherry's financial situation, does she have to pay for the testing? If so, her attorney could fight this if she has had six consecutive clean UA's or more from the info I received.

  17. Anonymous7:03 PM

    I understand your questions as to why the court system would be interested in looking for other drugs that may be found in her system, even though she is already taking prescription drugs legally. First, the courts are interested in examining if she is taking the medications prescribed to her and not selling them to others. They are also interested in finding if she is taking any additional drugs that have not been prescribed to her that she would be abusing. As far as the beer is concerned, that too is to look to ensure she is not abusing both inorder to created a greater high from the combination. They are simply trying to ensure she is not abusing the drugs that have been prescribe to her and to make sure she is no longer selling her drugs. It doesn't matter how she obtained the drugs that she sold, she sold her drugs illegally which is a crime in all states, not just Alaska.

  18. Anonymous7:06 PM

    Wishing Sherry the best!

  19. Anonymous7:06 PM

    I, too, am looking forward to hearing from Sherry. I wish the very best for the family.

    OT: Arizona shoot out. Send them back!

    at least 50 rounds were fired Saturday

    At least 5 persons were injured during the shooting, and one person is thought to have been injured and taken away in an unknown vehicle.

  20. AKRNC7:09 PM

    Anonymous @ 6:14, Sherry was using Oxycontin, Not Fentanyl. Are you sure about the info regarding the informant? To give up someone who was expecting a shipment, usually decent size quantity, to get a random seller, sure smells like Palin was involved. I always thought she was but this makes it almost definite if that info is accurate. What a horrible thing to do to try to remove her daughter's fiancee from her life! It will be interesting to watch what her other kids do as they get old enough to get married or date seriously. Is $arah OK w/ Track's GF? You know, the one that was supposed to be living with Bristol?? Thanks for any info you or anyone else has.

  21. Anonymous8:15 PM

    Anon 6:14, Undercover agents are never named. If they were, then there might be death threats carried out against them/their family, or once they become known, they can no longer be undercover and cases they are working on at the time they become identified would be jepordized and possibly not be brought to trial.

    I do have some questions though, and that is why she ever sold drugs in the first place? Has anyone ever asked her? What was her reasoning for doing so? How did the undercover come to know the she had drugs in the first place, what is the connection between her and the undercover agent?

    There is just so much about this whole episode which needs to see the light of day.

  22. Anonymous11:04 PM

    I like Mercede and her mom, but Sherry was selling drugs. She can't very well complain about the drug tests now. It's SOP in these cases. Regardless of her reasons, what she did was wrong. As for fair, Diana Palin should have her sorry ass in jail for what she did.

  23. Remember those on probation and parole have no fourth amendment rights. They can come and search your home and do a drug test at your house if they want to. The only problem I have with that is they won't take off their shoes to come in my apartment. They say they aren't allowed to remove them because they don't know what kind of situation they could end up in. In my apartment the most dangerous situation could be my cat demanding they pet her. They can look at anything they want to look at, I just don't want toxins tracked onto the carpet. They rarely come to see me and the only reason they came last time was I complained they were always saying they were coming and never did. Really, I think they could kick my ass with their shoes off and one hand tied behind their backs. Yes, this is standard procedure for any conviction with regards to drugs of any kind. I have very infrequent random drug tests. They can generally recognize by looking at people if they are using drugs, they can't do that with Sherry because she takes them for a medical purpose. The testing will most likely be more frequent early on and less frequent as they find no drug problems with an individual. That only makes sense. For purposes of chemical dependency recovery you would want drug testing for a lot of reasons and they should be very random. Of course Sherry is not in that situation. It is my understanding Sherry is on home detention which most likely has much higher restrictions and requirements then probation or parole. The paperwork I first received did not have drug testing mentioned in the court instructions and I was very unhappy about it because of the false accusations. It did however say I had to be evaluated for chemical dependency treatment which made no sense, except I have a history of addiction to prescription drugs due to pain from CFS/ME(which they would have never known about if I was not so honest about everything), but I got tested and they said I needed counseling for PTSD, but not drugs. I wanted to be tested to show what they were saying about me was wrong., but, they knew I was not using drugs without testing me. I was not tested for a long time to my dismay, then after moving twice someone found another document that said I should be tested. After all I have been through this made me very suspicious that something odd was going on until I saw a copy of the document and the date it was transmitted on. I felt fairly comfortable having it done right there in the office where I could watch what they were doing. I have told them if it is positive it will be a false positive and I want an immediate blood test done. I trust no one who works with the DOC in Alaska in general. I have had some problems with staff at the probation department, but when I complain to higher ups they DO LISTEN(I‘m only referring to the probation department, not the prison part of the DOC), so I have not written much about it. Listening and making changes is really all I expect with problems, something some other agencies in Alaska should learn. The injustice and the ridiculousness of my case is what bothers me. No where else would I have been wrongfully arrested against no evidence after already being falsely accused. I did try to take drugs to kill myself in a workplace bullying situation which had caused me to be very ill with CFS/ME and PTSD. No where else would I have been wrongfully arrested, tortured, and medically abused, while several government agencies knew my property was being stolen and my cat harmed. I would have been given psychiatric help. Instead the justice system of prison part of the DOC did everything they could to harm me. Yes, something smells fishy with Sherry’s case as well, but it is Palin and the department of law that are the problem, the probation department just does what the court orders them to do.

  24. Anonymous3:13 AM

    So, was it an informant or undercover agent who tripped up Sherry on those 10 pill buys?

    If an informant, I suspect probably Track, who was a known user, or perhaps Bristol, whose phone Sherry was using.

    This was a Palin setup from the get-go, IMHO.

    I hate that bitch.

  25. Anonymous4:06 AM

    Why did Sherry sell Oxy? From what people tell me, street value is about $25 a pill, depending on location. 10 x $25...

    Remember, Keith J owned the house she and the kids lived in, as Sherry had signed a Quit Claim deed yrs before (you can find it by going online); this has been discussed before. Since Sherry can't work, I would imagine that keeping up 2 teens plus a house, etc. would be financially draining.

    Believe me, I raised 2 boys w/only $100/mo "child support" during the 60s and 70s while working as a secretary, and it's tough, although the thought of doing something illegal never entered my mind. It's easier to do these days with all the pain meds being given out like candy by drs, even to the elderly, who also sell them (as one former neighbor did).

  26. The drug testing doesn't necessarily mean they are checking for illegal drugs. They are checking to see if she is taking her meds. They can run a test to make sure her body has the levels it should, by what the prescription is written. This is how the Dr.'s office should have been testing for this during her whole treatment. Beer WILL show in a urine test. That is how they run test on folks that have had a wreck and were injured.

    As far as the mouthwash it does not register as a DUI. I am a certified Intox operator and only alcohol by breath test will register.

    She was guilty of selling some of her meds and now she has to pay for it. She is very lucky that her pain management dr. didn't drop her like a hot potato. I do feel for her because I know she needs those meds but that doesn't negate her actions.

  27. Anonymous5:18 AM

    Standard practice for those on probation.

  28. Anonymous9:43 AM

    Sherry Johnston is not in jail but she is in confinement. In jail, the rules are the rules, and in home confinement, it's the same deal. The state saves the cost of jailing Sherry and can make her as miserable as the state wants.

    Sherry and Mercedes are continuing to learn the cost of defying the Heath/Palin clan.


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