Austin Eubanks, a Columbine survivor devoted to helping others who struggle with addiction after trauma, died on May 19 at the age of 37.
Eubanks’ best friends Corey DePooter was one of the 13 people who died at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.
“I was 17 at the time of the shooting and I had never drank a beer, I had never smoked weed, I had no known genetic predisposition for addiction, it wasn’t something that was prevalent in my friend group, it wasn’t part of my family, and so I had no idea what addiction was,” he stated in a previous interview. “It was just something that I saw in movies that was never going to affect me.”
Eubanks battled addiction for much of his late teens and 20s. After achieving long-term recovery at age 29, he dedicated his life to the addiction treatment industry.
“After I found long-term recovery I really decided to talk away from everything that I never knew and devote my life to this work,” he said. “[I] went back to school started waiting tables part time to get by and slowly but surely I worked my way in.”
Eubanks held key roles at various rehabilitation facilities. He also supported multiple nonprofits and traveled the country speaking to the public and media about addiction and pain.