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Austin Eubanks (1981–2019), Columbine survivor spoke about addiction

Photo via Twitter

Inspired others to overcome addiction

Austin Eubanks was a motivational speaker who addressed opioid addiction and his experience as a survivor of the Columbine High School shooting. According to his website he spoke on topics including drug policy, behavior health, addiction, and trauma. He was interviewed by several national print and television media outlets. In 2017 he gave a popular TEDx talk on his experience.

At the age of 17 Eubanks witnessed the deaths of friends and was wounded himself in the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting. He was prescribed opioids to treat physical pain from his injuries, but soon began using the medication to treat his emotional pain and became addicted. At 29 he completed recovery and became a motivational public speaker with the goal of helping others who turned to substances to cope with their trauma.

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Died: Saturday, May 18, 2019 (Who else died on May 18?)  

Details of death: Died at his home in Steamboat Springs, Colo. at the age of 37.


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Notable quote: “I want to leave you all with something that I wished I had known at age 17. Whoever you are, whatever you’re going through, in whatever way you might be going through it, just know this: In order to heal it, you have to feel it. We’re not going to solve the addiction pandemic overnight, but we will make progress when people start to understand the difference between physical and emotional pain, and then choose to do something about it.  

”In recovery, we often say, you keep what you have by giving it away. Find the courage to lean into the pain, and you can be a force in helping others,” he said in his 2017 TEDx presentation.  

What people said about him: “[He] lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face. Helping to build a community of support is what meant the most to Austin, and we plan to continue his work” —His family said in a statement released following his death  

Full obituary: Denver Post  

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