Business Insider Edition

'Sesame Street' is introducing a muppet whose mom has an opioid addiction, and people are having mixed feelings about it

Kim Renfro , Business Insider US
 Oct 11, 2019, 10:56 AM
Elmo and Karli, two Muppets seen on the "Sesame Street In Communities" web series made by the nonprofit organization Sesame Workshop.
  • An online web series called "Sesame Street in Communities" has introduced a muppet named Karli whose mother "went away for awhile" to deal with an opioid addiction.
  • Many people are praising the series for giving kids the tools to deal with parental addiction.
  • Others see this new story line as "heartbreaking" and indicative of a low point for "our society."
  • You can find all of the "Sesame Street" videos on parental addiction here.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Beloved children's educational program "Sesame Street" has introduced a muppet named Karli whose mother "went away for a while" to deal with an opioid addiction, according to a report from "The Today Show."

Many people, including hundreds on Insider's Facebook posts about the news of this story line, feel both grateful that "Sesame Street" is tackling such a tough issue but also are lamenting the necessity of this particular education for young kids.

Karli and her human-friend Salia are appearing on an online web series called "Sesame Street in Communities," but so far they're not a part of the actual show which is currently airing on HBO.

Many people are praising 'Sesame Street' for giving kids the tools to deal with parental addiction

Even beyond the current opioid crisis in the US, the general issue of addiction is very common. According to a 2016 national survey on drug use and health released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "approximately 20.1 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder."

"Would've loved this as a kid," Courtney V. wrote on Insider's Facebook page in response to the first article about Karli and her mom. "[I] needed guidance and having TV that I could relate to would've been so helpful to understanding what was going on."

"There are over a million children who have to deal with this," Kristen M. wrote. "They need resources. Thankful that 'Sesame Street' understands that need and helps kids by giving them a way to understand and seeing that it's not just their mommy or/and daddy."

"It's a touchy subject but sadly lots of children go through this and it needs to be talked about," Hailey F. said.

"They're helping young children cope with difficult situations, and relate to a character, to make them feel not so ashamed and alone when they're too young to understand whats even going on," Calli H. wrote. "This is really awesome."

Others see this new story line as 'heartbreaking' and indicative of a low point for 'our society'

Family members hold the pictures of their love ones who killed by opioid epidemic.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

"This is great but it's also very heartbreaking that we've reached this point in our society," Stephanie M. said.

"It's sad this is a reality we all live in," Victoria P. said.

"It is abhorrent that this is necessary now," Ashley A. wrote. "Poor children can't just be children anymore. The weight of adults shouldn't have to be carried by babies. So sad."

One person's comment strikes a balance between these two, and was among the most favorited and "loved" comments on one of Insider's Facebook posts.

Here's Maria P.'s entire comment:

"My first thought was that this is a good idea. A sad but appropriate truth. Something that the littles might find comforting while watching.

And then I flipped and thought God can't we just let kids be kids and let them have an hour where they don't have to think about any of the crazy things that might be going on in their world.

We live in scary, sad times. If I'm having difficulty navigating some of life's frightening realities how the heck are the little ones going to figure it out. I guess I'm still on the fence 'Sesame Street' ... but I guess we have to start somewhere."

The core "Sesame Street" Muppets seen on the HBO show.

The "Sesame Street in Communities" page, which is available in both Spanish and English, has more resources and videos exclusive to its site that help explain addiction to children. Other video titles like "It's Not Your Fault" or "Lending a Hand" show viewers that kids are not responsible for the actions of their parents and that friends can help other friends by simply saying: "I'm here with you."

You can find all of the "Sesame Street" videos on parental addiction here.

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