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'Sesame Street' debuts character whose mother is an opioid addict


'Addiction is often seen as a 'grown-up' issue, but it impacts children in ways that aren't always visible.'

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Popular and long-running kids' show "Sesame Street" has introduced its very first character with a drug-addicted mom.

What are the details?

In a clear nod to the U.S.'s opioid crisis, the producers of "Sesame Street" introduce Karli.

Karli's fictional mom is a recovering addict who attends regular meetings to maintain her sobriety.

In a Wednesday clip, the show features longtime favorite Elmo talking to Karli about Karli's mother, who is addicted to opioids.

During the exchange, Karli tells Elmo and a human that her mother has been having a "hard time," and attends meetings to "help her get better."

"My mom needs help learning to take better care of herself, so she talks to people with the same problem," Karli says.

Lending a Handwww.youtube.com

In a separate segment, Karli meets with a 10-year-old girl named Salia. Both of Salia's parents have the same problem: They are addicted to drugs.

"When my mom was having a hard time I had lots of big feelings, I felt like I was the only one. But now I've met other kids like Salia and we can talk about it together," Karli says while introducing a clip of Salia.

In her feature, Salia says, "Addiction is a sickness, addiction is getting attracted to something so you keep doing it over and over again. It makes people feel like they need drugs and alcohol to feel OK."

Meet Saliawww.youtube.com

What else?

Sherrie Westin, president of social impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said that it is important for the show to address such topics with children.

"Addiction is often seen as a 'grown-up' issue, but it impacts children in ways that aren't always visible," Westin said in a statement. "Having a parent battling addiction can be one of the most isolating and stressful situations young children and their families face.

"Sesame Street has always been a source of comfort to children during the toughest of times, and our new resources are designed to break down the stigma of parental addiction and help families build hope for the future," Westin's statement added.

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