Journalist reports own daughter's death in heart-breaking newscast

A broken-hearted journalist in the US has announced her own daughter's death on air while pleading with officials to better address the opioid crisis there.

"The opioid epidemic has hit home in a tragic and devastating way for me personally," newsreader Angela Kennecke told viewers in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, last week as she paused and winced before carrying on.

"My 21-year-old daughter, Emily, died of an overdose," she said. "Her official cause of death was fentanyl poisoning.

"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."

Ms Kennecke, an investigative reporter who has been covering the opioid crisis for nearly a decade, took time off from work after her daughter's death in May. She discussed her daughter's death upon returning - both on local station KELO-TV and later to a nationwide audience in the US via CBS This Morning.

"There's no recovery for me or my family of the loss of my talented, smart and beautiful daughter," Ms Kennecke said. "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 become a catalyst for change.

"We must come up with better, more affordable ways to treat addiction. We also need to abolish the stigma that prevents many from seeking help, including my daughter."

Steps are being taken to avoid a large scale problem in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

Fentanyl, 50 times more potent than heroin, kills more than 70,000 Americans per year, making it the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, CBS This Morning pointed out.

And experts predict it's only a matter of time before it's popular in New Zealand, too, due to how easily small amounts can be shipped around the world undetected through the mail. It's already on the rise in Australia.

The drug was first spotted at our borders in 2015 but has not yet infiltrated New Zealand's drug culture to a large extent, experts told 1 NEWS last year.