“Sesame Street” is continuing its effort to help kids cope and deal with more complex life issues by tackling the opioid crisis.
Karli, a green Muppet with two yellow pigtails, was introduced in May as a character in foster care who still has a relationship with her biological mother.
On Wednesday, Sesame Workshop mad an announcement that the show would be exploring Karli’s backstory, which explains that her mother has an addiction.
Elmo and other Sesame Street characters will ‘learn what Karli is going through and help their friends to cope’.
The Sesame Street in Communities program offers free online resource intended to help parents, caregivers, social workers, therapists and other working with children in these situations.
Kama Einhorn, a senior content manager with Sesame Workshop states that if a parent experiencing addiction “can take one thing away when they watch it with their kids… then that serves the purpose.”
More than 130 people die every day on average in the U.S. due to opioids, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2017, more than 70,000 people died of opioid overdoses ― with almost 68% of these deaths involving an illicit or prescription opioid such as OxyContin, an addictive painkiller. The deaths led the Centers of Disease Control to declare a public health emergency.