A South Dakota news reader made the brave decision last week to report on her daughter’s death from a drug overdose.
Angela Kennecke’s daughter Emily Groth was just 21 years old when she died of fentanyl poisoning in May. Her death came as a shock to her family, who had had only just learned of her opioid use.
On Wednesday, the news anchor decided to share her daughter’s story as part of the KELO-TV evening bulletin, making a heartfelt plea to “abolish the stigma that prevents many from seeking help”.
The journalist, who has more than 10 years of experience reporting on the opioid crisis in the US, fought back tears as she delivered the report.
“The opioid epidemic has hit home in a tragic and devastating way for me personally,” she said.
“The loss of a child, especially in a sudden and shocking way, has turned my world upside down.
“I never intended a member of my family to become part of the statistics you hear on the evening news. Nobody does.”
Kennecke said she hoped her family’s “personal tragedy” could be a “catalyst for change” and help reduce the stigma surrounding opioid addiction.
In an article published on the news station’s website the same day she read the report, Kennecke described further the tragic details of her daughter’s death.
She said she and her husband had only just become concerned Emily was abusing opioids in the weeks before her death.
“Everything in my instincts told me something is seriously wrong here… the more time I spent around her before her death, the more alarm bells went off in my head,” she wrote.