Meredith Rose Weinstein Baskin, age 34, died peacefully Aug 9, 2018 after a long battle with opioid addiction as reported in her obituary.
She was born on December 1, 1983 in Little Rock, AR the daughter of Susan Weinstein and the late Jeffrey Baskin.
After graduation from Central High School she began her studies at UALR, ultimately graduating as a registered nurse with honors from UAMS in 2008. She went on to practice as a nurse at UAMS and several private clinics in the Central Arkansas area. She loved her work and was a caring, committed health professional who was universally loved by her patients.
A sledding accident
In 2010 she had a snow sledding accident that resulted in a painful fracture in her back. Thus began her use of opioids, first for her back pain then needing more and more as she became addicted, ending in the use of heroin. After repeated rehab locally to recover, she moved to Los Angeles in 2017 and entered a long-term Jewish residential rehabilitation center in an earnest attempt to rid herself of her addiction.
Meredith worked exceptionally hard to become clean over the course of 16 months. She found new work, new friends, renewed faith and a loving supportive community in Los Angeles that honored her desire to remain clean.
More often than not, opioid addiction is misunderstood and stigmatized. It does not stem from a lack of personal conviction to overcome it. It is not born of laziness. Rather it is a disease of the brain that lurks within addicts (reformed and current) for as long as they live.
Loved by her family
Meredith was unconditionally loved by family members, a spokesman said. They are proud of the sincere struggle she put up to overcome this disease, and heartbroken by her untimely death. Meredith was filled with kindness and giving, while struggling silently within. She had a heart of gold and a warmth that radiated. Now she is free of the demons inside her.
Meredith is preceded in death by her father, Jeffry Baskin. She is survived by her mother, Susan Weinstein; her brothers Bernie Baskin (Yvonne Quek) and Danny Baskin (Ashley Byers); as well as a large extended family.
Burial will be at Oakland Jewish Cemetery in Little Rock with a private graveside service. Donations may be made to Beit T’Shuva (Los Angeles, Calif), The Oasis (Little Rock) Synagogue Agudath Achim (Little Rock) or to your favorite charity.
Tragically, Meredith’s experience is not unique. But this report of the events leading up to her death is helpful for those of us who seek to eliminate the abuse of alcohol, opioids and other drugs and promote recovery.
About a year ago, I set aside a copy of the Harvard Business Review which had published an article headed “Audacious Philanthropy. Lessons from 15 World Changing Initiatives (Harvard Business Review: September-October 2017)
“Private philanthropies,” the article said, “have helped propel some of the most important social impact success stories of the past century, virtually eradicating polio globally, providing free and reduced price lunches for all needy school children in the United States and putting a man on the moon.
Many of today’s emerging large-scale philanthropies aspire to similarly audacious successes. They don’t want to just fund homeless shelters and food pantries, for example. They want to end homelessness and hunger.”
Five key elements for success
“Our research, the article reported, “revealed five elements that together constitute a frame work for philanthropists pursuing large scale “swing for the fences change” that would include :
A .Building a shared understanding of the problem and its ecosystem, including:
- Setting “winnable milestones” and honing a compelling message.
- Designing approaches that will work at massive scale.
- Driving (rather than assuming) demand.
- Embracing course corrections as .
B. Reviewing social change initiatives of the past century, including:
- Polio eradication—Following the development of a vaccine in 1955 and decades-long inoculation efforts, polio has been virtually eradicated globally.
- Tobacco control—The long term anti smoking effort started in the 1950’s eventually reduced smoking rates by more than 60 per cent among US teens and adults’
- Car Seats—by 2006 some 98 percent of U.S. children traveling by car were restrained in safety seats, reducing their risk of death in an auto accident by 71 per cent.
- 911 Emergency Services—nationwide access to a trauma response system via a three-digit phone number was made available in the U.S in 1968.
- —Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step programs and some churches. Excellent .
C. Focus on reducing demand
Philanthropies, too, should focus more on reducing the demand for drugs and less on reducing the supply. Prohibition didn’t work. Remember?
“Donors have no objection to funding homeless shelters and food pantries; but their main mission is to end homelessness and hunger” (Harvard Business Review (September-October 2017)
“We studied 15 social movements that defied the odds and achieved life-changing results to uncover lessons for today’s ambitious donors. Although we now take their successes for granted, most of these initiatives took many decades to achieve breakthroughs.
“Audacious social change initiatives of the past century include: The anti apartheid movement, Aravind eye hospital, Car seats, CPR Training, The fair food program, Hospice care, Motorcycle helmets in Vietnam, The National School lunch program, 911 emergency services, Polio Eradication, Public libraries, Sesame Street and tobacco control.
“And to this list we would add “eliminate addictions to opioids, alcohol and other habit-forming drugs one day at a time.”