Sesame Street is addressing the addiction crisis – introducing a character's new storyline as a way to talk to children about the opioid epidemic that claims more than 130 lives every day across the nation.
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The long-running educational children’s show has re-introduced the world to Karli, Elmo’s bright-green, purple-nosed puppet friend who previously told viewers about her experience living in foster care. They will now have a better idea of why Karli's mom was unable to take care of her.
Karli’s latest screen-time storyline details how she has been affected by opioid addiction as part of the Sesame Street in Communities resources available online.
"Hi, it's me, Karli. I'm here with my friend Salia. Both of our parents have had the same problem — addiction," Karli, who is handled by puppeteer Hale Jenkins, told the camera.
Her guest, 10-year-old Salia Woodbury, is the daughter of recovering addicts.
"My mom and dad told me that addiction is a sickness," Salia said.
Karli responded by explaining it as “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 continued. "But now I've met so many other kids like us. It makes me feel like we're not alone.”
The show’s creators decided to address the topic of addiction because approximately 5.7 million kids under the age of 11 live with a parent who suffers from a substance use disorder.
More than 130 people suffer fatal opioid overdoses every day nationwide, according to data published in January by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESSThe Associated Press contributed to this story.