'Grey's Anatomy' Season 15 Episode 14: The Opioid Crisis Hits Home (RECAP)

Dan Clarendon
Spoiler Alert ABC/Mitch Haaseth

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 15, Episode 14 of Grey's Anatomy, "I Want a New Drug."]

Even after hour 24, Meredith’s marathon pancreas-sparing total duodenectomy is actually the least dramatic medical storyline on Grey’s Anatomy Season 15 Episode 14, February 21’s “I Want a New Drug.” The real focus of this week’s episode is a mass overdose at a local park.

Owen (Kevin McKidd) gets paged about the crisis right as he is grudgingly handing baby Leo over to Betty/Britney’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. Dickinson. He leaves the Dickinsons with Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) and heads to the ER, where he sets up a triage… not noticing that Betty (Peyton Kennedy) is one of the OD patients.

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Amid the chaos in the ER, a woman named Wendy is in a panic because she can’t find her young son, whom she worries got lost in all the hubbub at the park. Luckily, a homeless man named Ralph brings the boy in, and Jackson (Jesse Williams) and Qadri (Sophia Ali) take the opportunity to debride Ralph’s feet, which are covered in lesions. Jackson didn’t catch the fact that Ralph is homeless, though, so he prattles on to Maggie (Kelly McCreary) about how much she’ll enjoy camping with him that weekend and how she’ll realize just how much stuff they don’t need. Ralph overhears that privilege-laden comment, of course, and rightly guilts Jackson about it. Later, a sheepish Jackson is all too happy to give Ralph all of his camping gear so that Ralph at least has shelter while on the waitlist for more permanent housing.

As for Wendy, however, Ralph reveals he saw her passed out on a bench, and the docs realize she wasn’t just on a recreational trip to the park that day. Wendy’s husband arrives, and she admits to him that she’s been hooked on painkillers ever since she got back surgery. Out of her earshot, Alex (Justin Chambers) tells Wendy’s husband to do anything to protect their son, and Jo (Camilla Luddington) is taken aback by Alex’s fervor. He later tells Jo that his father, also an addict, left him alone in a bar parking lot when Alex was 6.

(ABC/Mitch Haaseth)

Maggie, meanwhile, was never jazzed about the camping idea, but she gets a reason to stay in Seattle when Amelia arrives at the hospital just as Teddy (Kim Raver) diagnoses Betty with an aortic dissection. Concerned for sister Amelia, Maggie wants to be the one to perform the risky heart surgery on Betty, but Teddy insists on being the one to cut. “Let me be the surgeon to tell Amelia that we lost her,” she tells Maggie. “Because she’s going to need her sister.”

Betty’s boyfriend, a fellow teen addict named Linus, arrived at the hospital with her, and Link (Chris Carmack) takes him on as a patient. Link puts him on an IV drip and (foolishly) leaves him unattended. He’s out in the hallway and flirting with Amelia — with sparks flying, it should be noted — when the duo notice blood seeping out from under a closed door. They open the door and find Linus unconscious, with a needle sticking out from his arm. Link tries to save Linus’s life but fails.

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Betty’s not doing much better, and Teddy is about to give up when Richard (James Pickens Jr.) tells her to take any and all extraordinary measures to save Betty’s life. So Teddy decides to completely reconstruct Betty’s aorta, and improbably, it works. Teddy finds Amelia and the Dickinsons in the hospital waiting room and tells them that Betty is out of surgery and en route to the ICU. Amelia impulsively hugs her, and a surprised Teddy gratefully hugs her back.

(ABC/Mitch Haaseth)

After finishing her surgery after 24-plus hours and breaking the hospital record for longest solo surgery, Mer finds out about Amelia’s distress from Maggie. But when they get to the waiting room, Amelia is already hugging Teddy, so they surmise that she got good news. Mer promptly falls asleep against a wall. By the time DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) finds Mer a bit later, she’s passed out on a gurney, so he wheels her into an empty hospital room and tucks her in.

As Amelia and the Dickinsons wait for Betty to wake up, Betty’s dad suggests that they not tell her Linus is dead. But Amelia disagrees, sharing with them how her fiancé died in bed next to her after they both did drugs. (It’s true: Watch Private Practice, folks.) It was a gut-wrenching moment for Amelia — but one that got her on the straight and narrow. “I thought it would kill me but instead it saved my life, because I decided to live,” she says. Betty finally wakes up and is glad to see Owen, Amelia, and her parents.

(ABC/Mitch Haaseth)

And in other news, Schmitt (Jake Borelli) scrubs in on an ortho operation with Nico (Alex Lani) and is amazed by his boyfriend’s surgical talent. (“You’re an artist, and I think it didn’t occur to me because you’re also a work of art, physically,” he tells him.) Also, scrub nurse Bokhee finally gets a line of dialogue in this episode, calling Mer a wonder woman for soldering through the marathon surgery. (Mer beams in response and thanks her, and it’s just about the cutest exchange ever.)

The episode ends with a PSA by Amelia portrayer Caterina Scorsone, who directs anyone with substance abuse concerns to use the SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator at findtreatment.samhsa.gov.

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And by the way, while we’re on the topic of record breakers, next week marks the episode with which Grey’s Anatomy surpasses ER as the longest medical drama in American primetime television history. See you then!

Grey’s Anatomy, Thursdays, 8/7c, ABC