What the Columbine Shooting taught me about pain and addiction | Austin Eubanks | TEDxMileHigh

Published 2017-07-26
"Less than an hour after scrambling out the back door of the Columbine High School library, I was lying in a hospital bed, medicated on a variety of substances intended to relieve my pain," recalls survivor Austin Eubanks. That was the beginning of a decade-long addiction that led to a profound realization about the current opioid epidemic: how we manage pain is both the problem and the solution.

An injured survivor of the Columbine shooting, Austin Eubanks' traumatic experience as a teen was the catalyst to his painful journey through addiction. Now in long-term recovery, he is a nationally recognized speaker on addiction recovery and the Chief Operations Officer of The Foundry Treatment Center, a 30-bed treatment program in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at www.ted.com/tedx

All Comments (21)
  • Mt. Zod
    The fact that this man died later from exactly what he was trying to get others to understand makes this speech that much more profound....Rest in peace Austin.
  • Tayla B
    Rest in peace Austin. You won’t be forgotten. Thank you for telling your story 😔💙
  • Jenny247ful
    "Every time this happens we're becoming more and more desensitized." Sad but true
  • Theo Wilson
    Austin. Your speech was right after mine that day. You were the coolest cat. We both found success after this night, and I'm wishing your soul a safe passage to the other side. Much love my brother. Until we meet again.
  • Dustin S.
    "In order to heal it, you have to feel it" Those words are so true. This is a phenomenal speech.
  • Aurora C.
    I heard him say that the night club shooting was the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history and this really confused me, but I then realized that the Las Vegas shooting happened long after this video was posted. It is really sad to think that the two biggest mass shootings in history happened in my short life time of 14 years, and both of which I remember watching the news report such a panicking event. It is so hard to think that as human, who share the same genetic code (to a certain point) could cause so much harm to those who are like us.
  • kellynkarr
    Damn man. I watched this video last month and was so happy that he'd used his pain to heal and move forward. I just read the news today and felt crushed. Rest in peace man. Rest in peace.
  • Jacks Elle
    I’m sadden to see that Austin passed away, he lived his life sharing the message that ultimately took his life. If that doesn’t get you then what will.
  • Joshin Around
    I cannot imagine the physical and emotional pain of being a survivor of a mass shooting. Very brave to talk about this publicly and present such a great talk.
  • EverythingViral
    When he says that opioids are better at relieving emotional pain than physical pain, he is BANG ON. This is why I've struggled for years with opioid abuse. I use it for mental anguish, more than physical pain, though I still use it for physical pain (I have cluster headaches).
  • Edward Pham
    Rest in peace, Austin.

    My sincere condolences are with his family and friends.
  • I wasn’t born yet but my mom was a first responder to Columbine HighSchool and she has told me the story a hundred times

    My prayers go to you.
  • Maria Maverick
    It just hurts so badly that this man who strove to transform his pain into something positive for others ended up still dying from it. I hope you’re at peace now Austin. Rest and thank you.
  • Shannon Nicole
    EVERYONE in America, and around the world needs to watch this. Not just watch, but HEAR! So sad he (Austin) lost his battle he fought so hard to pass his knowledge on to others. Let this young mans death not be forgotten. Let his message continue to be heard! RIP Austin, thank you for everything!
  • Rest in Peace, Austin. I know Corey was waiting there to help you transition to the other side.
  • Sismj
    It's sad that he passed away today being such a profound speaker. The world should remember him and the pain he went through because of addiction to opioids.
  • thomas moody
    Upon listening to this erudite, battle scarred, beautiful human being, it profoundly saddens me to discover that he never truly recovered from that fateful day...in 2019, twenty years following the misery that all subsequent school shootings are measured against, this man gave in once again, apparently, to his demons. And these were demons unquestionably brought on by being a 17 year old undergoing untold horror and never being adequately treated for it. R.I.P. Austin Eubanks.
  • Vanessa Éroger
    Rest in peace, Austin.
    There is so much wisdom packed in these 15 minutes, it's up to people like me to pass the message now.
    You won't be forgotten.
  • Jayne
    This is by far one of my favourite and most powerful Ted Talk I've ever seen! Thankyou
  • Metro Promise
    How sad this thoughtful and intelligent young man has passed away. God bless him, his family and friends.