The Children’s Show Sesame Street Addresses Addiction

Sesame Street show
(Photo by Ritu Manoj Jethani/

When we think of addition we often think about the people who are dealing with it first hand, but the truth of the matter is that this issue has a much larger impact than most people realize. Many children across the United States are growing up with parents who are struggling with addiction problems. The Sesame Street in Communities online project has introduced a new character to help address this issue. Karli is a 6-year-old character who is in foster care due to her mother’s addiction and she helps give children whose parents are struggling with substance abuse someone they can relate to.

Some people may think that it’s inappropriate for a children’s show to talk about these sorts of things but the reality is that thousands of children are dealing with this issue in real life every day. Programs like these help to reduce the stigma that surrounds addiction recovery and give a valuable resource to families for explaining issues that are difficult to talk about with their kids. Because so many people are currently struggling with addiction it is well worth the effort to look at what can be done to help make things better.

What are some steps that can be taken to help address this issue?

  • Provide increased access to quality treatment.
    Although it is certainly a difficult thing to leave one’s child in order to go to rehab, this is one of the best things that a parent who has an addiction can do for their children. Many people are unable to go to quality treatment for a variety of reasons which is why we need more long-term programs made available. Programs that address the underlying issues of addiction and enable people to become drug-free, productive members of society benefit entire communities.
  • Help parents with addiction learn valuable life skills to stay sober.
    One of the most important things that a person with an addiction needs to do is to learn applicable life skills that will enable them to remain sober. In order to succeed in a life of sobriety, a person needs tools that they can use to do so. A good treatment program will not only provide quality life skills but will also help to establish a firm foundation for a life of recovery.
  • Provide resources to children whose parents are addicted.
    There is a huge need for resources to be made available to children who are struggling with this issue. If not properly addressed a parent’s substance abuse can lead to a generational cycle of addiction. We owe it to the children of our communities to do all that we can to prevent this from continuing to occur.
  • Increase drug-education efforts among children.
    Real, honest and quality drug-education programs need to become more accessible to children. This is not a one and done type of conversation but something that needs to be talked about repeatedly throughout a child’s life. The importance of this topic cannot be understated. Young children and teens need to understand the long-lasting consequences of drug and alcohol addiction.
  • Realize this is an issue that is not going away anytime soon.
    Despite increased awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction, the rates of substance abuse have continued to rise. Over the past several years drug overdose death rates have reached unprecedented numbers. We cannot ignore this problem and hope it goes away on its own. This is something that impacts entire communities. If left unaddressed, the issue will only continue to spread. We must all work together on developing solutions to solving the addiction epidemic that has taken over the United States.




After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.