Sesame Street Takes on Opioid Crisis By Giving Muppet’s Mother an Addiction


Children’s television show Sesame Street is tackling the opioid crisis by giving one of its Muppet’s mothers a drug addiction.

Karli, a green female Muppet, now has a mother “battling addiction” in an effort to help children with parents who are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

“There’s nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young kids from their perspective,” explained Sesame Workshop’s Kama Einhorn. “Even a parent at their most vulnerable – at the worst of their struggle – can take one thing away when they watch it with their kids, then that serves the purpose.”

According to the Guardian, “This summer in Manhattan, puppeteers, producers and show creators crammed into a small studio in the not-for-profit organization’s Manhattan headquarters to tape some of the upcoming segments on addiction.”

“Karli, voiced and manipulated by the puppeteer Haley Jenkins, was joined by a young girl whose parents are in recovery,” the newspaper reported.

In the segment, Karli declares, “Hi, it’s me, Karli. I’m here with my friend Salia. Both of our parents have had the same problem – addiction.”

“My mom and dad told me that addiction is a sickness,” responds Salia.

“Yeah, a sickness that makes people feel like they have to take drugs or drink alcohol to feel OK. My mom was having a hard time with addiction and I felt like my family was the only one going through it,” the puppet proclaims. “But now I’ve met so many other kids like us. It makes me feel like we’re not alone.”

In another scene, Karli declares, “I love my mom so much, and she couldn’t take good care of me because she was having such a tough time.”

Salia’s mother, who suffered with her own addiction, celebrated the Muppet’s new backstory in an interview with NBC News.

“It kind of takes away the stigma and the judgement and encourages people to be open-minded,” she expressed. “It’s a huge crisis.”

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