Columbine Survivor and Recovery Advocate, Austin Eubanks, found dead
Austin Eubanks, a Colorado man who survived the 1999 Columbine school shooting and later became an advocate for fighting addiction, passed away earlier this week from an accidental overdose. Eubanks was shot in the hand and knee in the Columbine attack that killed 12 classmates and a teacher, including Eubanks’ best friend.
Eubanks later became addicted to drugs after taking prescription pain medication while recovering from his injuries. Eubanks has been working in treatment and sharing his story around the world in advocacy efforts. Eubanks was featured in the Colorado program to end stigma around addiction called the “Lift the Label” campaign.
“The stigma of addiction has played a significant role in allowing this public health crisis to reach pandemic levels,” Eubanks said in a statement when the effort was rolled out. “Addiction is the only disease where we commonly wait until it’s at the highest level of acuity before deciding to treat it, and by then, it’s often too late. Eliminating the stigma associated with the disease of addiction is essential in improving early intervention, and ultimately reducing the loss of life we’re currently seeing.” Eubanks’ family says in a statement that he “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face.”
If you are someone you love is struggling with addiction, reach out for help. There is no shame in admitting you need the help and support of a dedicated team of professionals. Admissions specialists are available by chat or phone 24/7, you are not alone.