Health

News anchor reports on own daughter's overdose death

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A South Dakota news anchor turned the lens on herself to report the heartbreaking death of her 21-year-old daughter, who overdosed on fentanyl — three days ahead of a scheduled intervention.

Angela Kennecke, an investigative reporter for CBS affiliate KELO, chose to share her story about daughter Emily Groth in hopes of raising awareness about the opioid crisis.

“Because if just one person hears me, if just one person does one thing to save a life, then I don’t care about a million naysayers or people who don’t understand,” Kennecke said in a special segment that aired on the network Wednesday. “I just care about that one mother that I can stop from experiencing the pain that I have.”

In the weeks leading up to Groth’s death on May 16, Kennecke said red flags kept going up about her daughter’s addiction.

“Everything in my instincts told me something is seriously wrong here,” the mom tearfully recalled.

She hired an interventionist to get Groth into treatment, scheduling an intervention for May 19. But it was too late.

“We didn’t get that chance to get her into real treatment, to get her real help,” Kennecke said.

Groth had struggled with drug addiction for more than a year — but Kennecke was horrified to learn that she’d been shooting heroin, according to CBS News.

“It was the most shocking thing to me. Needles. Middle-class kid, privileged, you know all these opportunities,” Kennecke told the network in an interview Friday. “I just feel so compelled to let everybody know what happened to my daughter can happen to you, can happen to your child.”

Kennecke said it was a delicate balance trying to get her daughter help, while at the same time keeping her close.

“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,” she explained. “So I was always trying to approach it with love. We were working to get her help, I just didn’t get there on time.”

Groth’s autopsy revealed that she had six times what would be considered a therapeutic dose of fentanyl for a large man, according to the mom.

“She was just a small young woman. She didn’t stand a chance,” Kennecke said in the KELO clip. “That fentanyl killed her almost instantly after she injected it.”

Kennecke set up a fund called Emily’s Hope to raise money to pay for addiction treatment for those who need it.

“As a mom, I have a hole in my heart that will always be there. It is never going to heal,” she said. “I have other children that I love. I have a husband that I love. But nothing and nobody can replace the loss of my oldest child. And she was only 21.”

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