From the moment Betsy suffered a debilitating back injury on Hulu’s limited series Dopesick, she was doomed.
The coal miner and closeted lesbian turned to Dr. Samuel Finnix, just as everyone else in their town did, to help cure her ailment. The doctor prescribed OxyContin, which he was made to believe was less addictive than other opioids. This was a lie, of course, and Betsy got hooked on the painkillers, and her life fell apart. Betsy was high on the job when she caused a major work accident that almost cost a man his life.
She also started stealing from her parents and eventually was so strung out, or “dopesick,” she began prostituting herself and living on the streets until her mother saved her. In an odd twist of fate, her doctor got badly hurt in a car accident, and the ER physician prescribed OxyContin, and Samuel, too, became an addict. The difference was Samuel was a highly respected doctor who, upon causing a patient grave harm while operating, got sentenced to time at a high-end rehab center.
When the center failed to help him in a major way because it was better suited for alcoholism, Samuel’s former nurse Leah stepped in and got him into a methadone clinic that gave him the clarity he needed to push forward with his life. Betsy’s parents, who were super religious, had a hard enough time dealing with her sexuality. They accepted that, but then didn’t really know how to go about getting her help so that she could get clean and stay clean.
They took her to a church-sponsored Narcotics Anonymous support group, and a woman sold her opioids in the restroom. Heroin would later become her drug of choice, because it’s cheaper than OxyContin, and she struggled to kick her addiction to that as well.
There were glimmers of hope, like when Betsy’s mom took her to an event where an addiction specialist explained why OxyContin was designed for dependency. Betsy signed a petition to hold Purdue Pharma accountable; however, that did little to help the poor woman with her addiction struggles on a day-to-day basis.
Then one day, Samuel called to apologize to Betsy for prescribing her OxyContin in the first place. He was one of the few people Betsy trusted, and when she came out, it was him that she told first. Betsy told her former doctor she was just happy he was still alive, and she forgave him for his ignorance.
She also told him she loved him, and he said it back. Samuel urged Betsy to go with him to the addiction specialist, who had switched him from methadone to the less harsh Suboxone, and Betsy said she would try.
Betsy turned to her mom, who turned to the church, and the support group leader said methadone and Suboxone were just as bad as heroin and OxyContin. But Betsy, who was longing for normalcy and the girl she used to be, said she wanted to give Samuel’s suggestion a try, and her mother reluctantly agreed. The day before Betsy was supposed to go with her mom to meet Samuel, she called her old girlfriend Grace and asked if they could be together again if she got clean.
Grace, who had settled down with a new woman and had a baby, sadly told Betsy they could be friends, and a dejected and heartbroken Betsy turned to heroin once more.
But this time, the high was too strong, and she died of an overdose. When Samuel called the next morning to find out what time Betsy and her mother would be meeting him, her mom Diane broke the tragic news and said Betsy was in heaven and no longer in pain.
What did you think of Dopesick‘s most heart-wrenching installment to date? Drop your thoughts in the comments.
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