Austin Eubanks’ Ex-Wife Says Columbine Survivor Was Under Pressure To Be Perfect 

By Victoria Kim 10/15/19

Eubanks died in May 2019 from “acute heroin toxicity” at the age of 37.

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Austin Eubanks
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Austin Eubanks was under pressure to be the perfect role model of recovery, his ex-wife said in a recent conversation.

Aimee Bouc, who had two children with Eubanks, recently opened up to KSHB Kansas City about how the Columbine survivor struggled even as he promoted recovery.

“There was so much pressure put on him to be this perfect person in the eyes of the world,” Bouc said. “He didn’t feel he could actually go and get the treatment when he did go back to it.”

Becoming An Advocate

Eubanks emerged from his teenage trauma to become a prominent recovery advocate who dedicated himself to helping others.

“His story and the power behind Columbine really put him front and center of the opioid [epidemic],” said Bouc. “He brought a complete level of awareness and helped so many people and I’ve read their comments on how he helped them shape their lives. It just brought me tears of joy.”

Bouc said she suspected Austin was using again before his fatal overdose in May 2019.

Austin struggled with his recovery despite his advocacy. His death was a jarring reminder that recovering from trauma and substance use disorder is a lifelong battle.

“I believe there was always a fight,” said Bouc. “I don’t believe he was always using, [I] believe that was more recently.”

She added, “It never stops being a struggle. I don’t think addiction is something you can just stop struggling one day; it’s always a work in progress.”

After Columbine

Austin was 17 when he was shot in the arm and knee during the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999. He turned to drugs to numb the emotional trauma of that day, including witnessing his best friend die during the shooting.

“My injuries were not to the point of needing an opiate pain medication,” he told The Fix in a 2016 interview. “But I was immediately given a 30-day supply. Within three months I became addicted… I used substances every day, day in and day out.”

When he found recovery, he dedicated himself to helping others get well. “The message I want to send to people is to ask for help,” he told The Fix. “I lived in the dark for over a decade in my addiction. I could never see a path out. Ask for help because it’s there.”

Eubanks died in May 2019 from “acute heroin toxicity” at the age of 37. His family said in a statement following his passing that he “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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