She Was a Reporter Covering the Opioid Epidemic. Then Her Daughter Overdosed.

“I have an obligation to talk about it. My number one reason for talking about it is to erase the stigma that is surrounding addiction.”

Investigative reporter Angela Kennecke was in the middle of reporting a story about the opioid epidemic this spring when she received the frantic phone call saying that her 21-year-old daughter, Emily, had overdosed on fentanyl.

A TV anchor for South Dakota CBS affiliate KELO, Kennecke has covered the overdose epidemic for years. After taking a few months off following her daughter’s death, she returned to work this week and shared her devastating personal story on KELO.

In an interview “CBS This Morning” Friday, Kennecke said she was aware that her normally gregarious daughter was struggling, but had no idea that Emily was addicted to heroin. “I had to walk a very fine line between trying to help her, trying to talk to her, and alienating her or pushing her away. So I was always trying to approach it with love,” she said. “We were working to get her help, I just didn’t get there on time.”

Overdoses killed an estimated 72,000 Americans last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the death toll continues to rise, families are increasingly speaking frankly about the toll of addiction. “I thought, I have to talk about it,” said Kennecke. “I have an obligation to talk about it. My number one reason for talking about it is to erase the stigma that is surrounding addiction.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend