Community Issues

Sesame Street Takes on the Issue of Addiction

With millions of kids living in addicted households, creators wanted to help them feel they're not alone.


Creators of the iconic children's television show "Sesame Street" have never been shy about taking on difficult subjects. So it's probably no surprise that they're tackling one of the biggest issues in the country today: the addiction crisis.

Fox News reports that Karli, the green and yellow-haired muppet who lives with foster parents, reveals to her friend Elmo, in a series of videos, that she's in foster care because her mother is battling addiction. She'll also be joined in those videos by Salia Woodbury, a 10-year-old California girl whose parents have been in recovery for eight years.

In the segments, viewed over the summer by The Associated Press , Karli and Salia share their feelings. "Hi, it's me, Karli. I'm here with my friend Salia. Both of our parents have had the same problem, addiction," Karli says in one video. "My mom and dad told me that addiction is a sickness," Salia says. "Yeah, a sickness that makes people feel like they have to take drugs or drink alcohol to feel OK," the Muppet agrees. "My mom was having a hard time with addiction and I felt like my family was the only one going through it. But now I've met so many other kids like us."

"It makes me feel like we're not alone."

The show's creators wanted to address addiction because one in eight children under the age of 11 in the U.S. live in households with a parent who suffers from substance abuse. "There's nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young kids from their perspective," said Kama Einhorn, a senior content manager with The Sesame Workshop , told Fox News.

Salia teaches Karli how meditation helps her and her parents cope.

The show's creators also view the videos as a chance to model ways for adults to explain to kids what they're going through, and offer stragegies for kids to cope. You can find it all, including the videos, in a special section about parental addiction at Sesame Street in Communities (click here) . You can also watch the series of YouTube videos featuring Salia and Karli by clicking here .

If you need help with addiction, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has great resources on their website (click here), inculding a 24/7 hotline for counseling and referrals.

(Images: Sesame Street Workshop & Sesame Street Facebook page )

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