On Wednesday, Sesame Street posted a segment online that features a young girl named Salia chatting with a new puppet named Karli, who’s a friend of Elmo’s.
But unlike the terminally goofy Elmo, Karli’s conversation is stone serious, as her mom–as well as Salia’s–is addicted to opioids.
“My mom was having a hard time with addiction and I felt like my family was the only one going through it,” the puppet says. “But now I’ve met so many other kids like us. It makes me feel like we’re not alone.” In explaining the children’s show’s pivot to such weighty subject matter, Kama Einhorn, Sesame Workshop’s senior content manager, says, “There’s nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young kids from their perspective.”