A television news anchor who has been covering the opioid crisis for years has personally experienced its tragic side effects.
Angela Kennecke, an investigative journalist from KELO, a CBS affiliate in South Dakota, revealed in a recent interview that her daughter, Emily, died from fentanyl overdose four months ago.
Journalist Loses Daughter To Drug Overdose
"My choice, even at great personal risk, is to share my daughter's story with all of you," she said on CBS This Morning. "The reason I'm doing this is because my only hope in the face of such devastating loss is that Emily's story, my family's personal tragedy, can be a catalyst for change."
Emily passed away in May. She was only 21 years old. Angela revealed that the family did not even know that the young woman was addicted to illegal drugs until she overdosed and died.
An autopsy report revealed that on the day she passed away, Emily had six times of the suggested dose of fentanyl for a large man. She died as soon as the drug was injected into her body.
Investigations are still ongoing to find where the young woman got the substance, but Angela and her family have already started moving forward. To honor the memory of her oldest daughter and to make sure that the same tragedy does not happen to other families, the journalist established Emily's Hope, a fund that hopes to help offset the cost of treatment for people who are addicted to drugs.
"I've set up a fund called "Emily's Hope" because I never gave up hope on my daughter," she wrote on the KELO website. "And I want her life and her tragic death to at least give someone else hope."
Opioid Crisis In America
Fentanyl is a prescription medication used to treat pain, especially to patients diagnosed with cancer or experiencing extreme pain. It works by activating the brain's opioid receptors found in the areas that control pain and emotions.
However, fentanyl can also be habit-forming and, if taken in excess, can be fatal. An overdose of the drug can cause a person to stop breathing. Its negative side effects are further amplified when used with other illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
In the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 72,000 people died from drug overdose in 2017 alone. It has become the leading cause of death of people under the age of 50 in America.