October 11, 2019
Sesame Street is educating children on the realities of the opioid crisis in the U.S.
Sesame Workshop, a non-profit branch behind the show, has introduced the backstory of a bright green muppet named Karli who has a mother battling addiction.
In the online episodes, Karli tells Elmo and another muppet about her mother’s meetings as well as special kids-only meetings where Karli gets to spend time with other children who are going through the same experience.
Elmo’s father, Louie, also explains what addiction is.
The new segment is available on the Sesame Street in Communities website, a portal that covers a range of topics including grief, family divorce and traumatic experiences.
Research shows 5.7 million children under the age of 11 in the U.S. live with a parent with a substance use disorder. The opioid crisis has also had a devastating effect on Canada, leading to over 1,400 deaths during 2018 in Ontario alone.
Ontario announced a provincial strategy in 2016 addressing opioid addiction and overdose. Part of the strategy included expanding access to naloxone, an opioid antagonist, for which CMHA Ontario created a resource. Reducing Harms: Recognizing and Responding to Opioid Overdoses in Your Organization takes a harm-reduction approach to the opioid epidemic in Ontario, providing steps to administering naloxone and guidelines for implementation at an organizational level.