Sesame Street continues its run of excellent, empathetic new muppets to help kids deal with a changing world: after introducing muppets experiencing homelessness, living with autism, and explaining marriage without recourse to gender norms, the show has introduced a muppet whose mother lost custody of her after becoming addicted to drugs.
The Sackler family got richer than the Rockefellers when their business, Purdue Pharma, used unethical and illegal tactics to sell their incredibly addictive opioid, Oxycontin. The epidemic has claimed more American lives than the Vietnam war, and it's left far more families broken and traumatized by addiction.
The muppet, Karli, discusses her mother's addiction with ten year old Salia Woodbury, whose own parents have been in recovery for eight years. Karli's segments appear in Sesame Street Communities, a collection of online resources for families.
Karli, introduced earlier this year as a muppet who was in foster care, will tell her story through the Sesame Street in Communities project, which offers free content online. The show creators said they wanted to focus on addiction because 5.7 million children under 11 years old live with a parent who struggles with a substance addiction, according to The Associated Press.
"How they're impacted by addiction is often something that we don't hear about or, more importantly, don't hear [in] a children's voice or perspective," NBC News reported Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop.
Karli told NBC News that "I love my mom so much" but that "she couldn't take good care of me because she was having such a tough time."
Sesame Street to reveal muppet's mom suffered from addiction [Justine Coleman/The Hill]