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'We're not alone' - 'Sesame Street' tackles addiction crisis

This Aug. 6, 2019 photo shows Salia Woodbury, 10, left, from Irvine, Calif., on the set with "Sesame Street" muppet Karli and puppeteer Haley Jenkins during a taping about parental addiction in New York. Sesame Workshop is addressing the issue of addiction. Data shows 5.7 million children under 11 live in households with a parent with substance use disorder. Salia's parents are in recovery after struggling with addiction and share her experience with the show's Karli—whose muppet character has a mom who is also in recovery. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK — “Sesame Street” is taking a new step to try to help kids navigate life in America — it’s tackling the opioid crisis.

Sesame Workshop is exploring the backstory of Karli, a bright green, yellow-haired friend of Elmo’s whose mother is battling addiction. The initiative is part of the Sesame Street in Communities resources available online.

Karli had already been introduced as a puppet in foster care earlier this year, but viewers now will understand why her mother had to go away for a while.

Children’s therapist Jerry Moe, the national director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Children’s Program, helped craft the segments and resources, saying he was grateful to help since there’s been a small number of resources for the preschool age-group.

Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press