The opioid crisis has reached such heights in the United States that Sesame Street has created a new character to help kids deal.
Elmo’s new friend Karli, a lime green puppet with yellow hair, has a mother who is battling an addiction.
Sesame Street decided the character was needed because there are 5.7 million young children living in homes with one or more parents dealing with substance abuse, the Guardian reports.
“There’s nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young kids from their perspective,” explains Kama Einhorn, senior content manager for Sesame. “Even a parent at their most vulnerable – at the worst of their struggle – can take one thing away when they watch it with their kids, then that serves the purpose.”
The goal is to also show adults appropriate ways to help kids cope.
Karli was introduced earlier this year as a puppet in foster care, but now the show will explain exactly why she isn’t living with her parents.
Sesame Street has a history of tackling tough subjects in the decades the show has been on television. They have broached topics like adoption, racism, and death in the past.