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Sesame Street’s Karli, the Muppet whose mother is addicted to opioids, is a good first step
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Sesame Street’s Karli, the Muppet whose mother is addicted to opioids, is a good first step 

Sesame Street has introduced Karli, a puppet whose mother is addicted to opioids. I applaud them. For too long, children’s shows have been bright, happy, colourful and filled with problems that can be easily resolved. It’s time we saw the alleys and overflowing gutters behind the buildings of Sesame Street—the suicides, prostitution and addictions that run rampant after the sun sets. It’s time children learned about real life. It’s time children learned about flesh-eating diseases, absent fathers, and the unforgiving cycle of life. That their heroes are frauds and everyone dies, including their favourite pets and all their hopes and dreams.

It’s time children learn why people are drawn to heroin in the first place. That life can be so crushing and hopeless that the only other answer is death. It is time children learn that although on the outside the heroin addict may look sick, miserable, terrifying and disgusting, inside they feel better than you will ever know. That the feeling is so good inside, the addict forgets about the vessel and the outer part of the body slowly begins to slip away. From the outside it is hard to watch a heroin addict slowly deteriorate, and even harder to imagine how someone could let themselves fall into that state. But inside they feel perfect. Religion, spirituality, and gurus have often spoken of finding inner peace and joy, and there is no peace within as perfect as the high of heroin.

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