Discussing Addiction on Sesame Street

Discussing Addiction on Sesame Street

When most people think about the opioid epidemic or addiction, they think about the adults who are struggling with addiction.

But few recognize how many children are living with parents who are addicts. In a recent episode, Muppets, children, and adults worked together to discuss addiction on Sesame Street. Karli is one of the Sesame Street characters dealing with a loved one’s addiction, and a recent episode of the children’s show discussed her challenges and helped kids of addicted parents feel less alone.

Sesame Street Addiction Episode

  Karli is a Sesame Street character dealing with addiction, but not her own. Karli’s mother struggles with opioid addiction, and the character is living in foster care while her mother works on her recovery. This is an incredibly heavy topic, not only for children’s television but for any television show.

During the episode, the characters discuss Karli’s mother’s addiction, but not in a way that gives condemnation. Instead, they support the child and her struggles, giving her the love and understanding she needs at this trying time. Sesame Street consulted with addiction recovery experts to ensure they properly discussed the topic and worked to illustrate that addiction isn’t the moral failing of the addict, but rather a challenge on many levels that needs a multi-faceted approach for healing. 1

The Importance of the Sesame Street Addiction Episode

  So, why did Sesame Street feel the need to talk about children of addicted parents? It is estimated that 5.7 million children under the age of 11 are living with a parent who is battling a substance use disorder. 2 There are many challenges children of addicted parents struggle with, including skewed family dynamics of addiction and social challenges. This Sesame Street episode helps to battle stigmas and let children of addicted parents know they are not alone.

Living with and even forgiving a drug addicted parent can be difficult. At Banyan Treatment Centers Massachusetts, we offer family support for addicts and their loved ones. You are not alone. If you’re struggling with addiction, or if you have a parent who is struggling, call our team at Banyan Treatment Centers Massachusetts for support. We offer addiction treatment programs and programs for families of addicts designed to help everyone recover from the damage done by addiction.

Call 888-280-4763 to learn more about our programs.


  1. Forbes - Hand Puppets And Hard Drugs: ‘Sesame Street’ Tackles The Opioid Crisis
  2. CBS - "Sesame Street" addresses opioid crisis as Muppet's mother battles addiction
Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.