“IRON SHARPENS IRON AS ONE MAN SHARPENS ANOTHER.”When Austin Box died in 2011, he was wearing a wristband quoting this scripture from Proverbs 27:17. The Austin Box “12” Foundation has adopted a variation of that idea, “Sharpen Each Other,” as our mission and founding principle.

The CDC reports that a death from prescription drug abuse happens every 19 minutes in the United States, more than from car accidents. An informed community is the only way to slow and eventually stop this epidemic, and lead to better representation and legislation at local, state and national levels. You have an opportunity and a responsibility to keep yourself and your community safe. We must Sharpen Each Other, every single day.


"My son, Austin, died May 19, 2011 from a prescription drug overdose. Even today, it is so surreal to say those words: 'died of a prescription drug overdose.' Austin was a much loved son to me, and a brother, student and athlete. Through all of his success he remained humble, often deflecting from himself and crediting others. As one of the college coaches put it, 'He was selfless.' He felt that he had been given so much in life that there was no room for complaint.

"Austin was 14 when he suffered his first major injury: a stress fracture in his back. At the time, he was playing basketball, football and baseball at a high level. This was the beginning of chronic pain that he suffered for the rest of his life. When he was a senior in high school, he hyperextended his elbow, bending it back to a 90-degree angle. He was able to fight through the injury and come back to lead his team to the 6A championship game.

“He was selfless”

“After high school, he joined the OU football team, where he continued to struggle with injuries: a knee surgery and an elbow surgery. His last injury - a ruptured disc in his back - occurred at the beginning of the 2010 football season. This injury, I believe, is what set in motion his abuse of prescription drugs. Austin was originally given a limited supply of prescription pain medication, but it proved insufficient. Austin found what he thought was the answer to managing the pain: self-medicating and abusing his prescription. Austin began to suffer in silence as the drugs led him down a road of false comfort and delayed pain. Austin took responsibility for his own choices, so I don’t share his story to make any excuses on his behalf. He would want us to use his story to help Sharpen Each Other.”

“It’s time to lift the veil of shame”

We started The Austin Box "12" Foundation in Austin's honor, with the mission of educating the public on the dangers of prescription drug abuse. If this foundation prevents other families and students from experiencing the trauma and tragedy we've experienced, Austin's legacy truly lives on.