WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 31, 2023 – Angela Kennecke, founder of Emily’s Hope, was honored with an invitation to the White House today in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day. She joined families from across the nation who have experienced the devastating loss of a loved one to overdose or fentanyl poisoning. The families all shared the advocacy work they are doing in their loved ones’ name. The meeting was attended by notable figures, including Dr. Rahul Gupta, the nation’s drug czar, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen, as well as members of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and White House Staff.
In the wake of the CDC releasing that overdoses from fentanyl-laced pills doubled in a two-year period, the Biden Administration announced more than $450 million in new funding to fight the nation’s drug epidemic.
Angela founded Emily’s Hope following the tragic loss of her oldest child, Emily, who was just 21 years old when she fell victim to fentanyl poisoning. “This moment is bittersweet,” Angela said. “While I’m heartbroken that the loss of my beautiful daughter Emily brought me here, I am committed to ensuring that no other family has to endure such a senseless tragedy.”
Pioneering Educational Programs
One of the focal points of the meeting was the sharing of the advocacy work being done in memory of lost loved ones. Angela introduced Emily’s Hope’s groundbreaking K-5 substance use prevention curriculum, which can be accessed at emilyshopeedu.org. Currently in development for grades 6-12, the K-5 curriculum will be implemented in 50 schools across five states in the upcoming school year.
Providing Financial Support for Treatment
Emily’s Hope has also facilitated the treatment of 200 individuals at the Avera Addiction Care Center by providing much-needed financial assistance. “Our goal is to remove the financial barriers that often deter people from seeking the help they need,” Angela explained.
Support for Grieving Families
In addition to educational and financial initiatives, Emily’s Hope runs a grief support group for those who have lost loved ones to fentanyl poisoning or overdose. Angela also hosts a weekly podcast, Grieving Out Loud, to help dismantle the stigma associated with substance use disorder.