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.”


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. 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'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.