Opioid addiction has become a crisis that is sweeping the nation. According to the Department of Health and Human Services more than 10 million people were abusing opioids in 2019 alone. The people battling the addiction are often highlighted in the news, but the children and families that are affected by the substance abuse usually go overlooked. On Saturday, Eboni Fields, who is the clinical director of ABTRS will be going on ABC15 in Phoenix to discuss Sesame Street tackling the opioid epidemic.
Addressing the issue of substance abuse to the nearly 5.7 million children affected by it on their level hasn’t happened in the media. Sesame Street has decided to take a stand to help educate the community about the dangers of substance abuse for those using and their family. On the 50th episode, Sesame Street plans to have their muppet Karli delve into the opioid crisis. Karli is featured as a child who is living in foster care due to her mother’s addiction to drugs. Millions of children across the United States are in the same situation as Karli and can relate to the story being told. There are many benefits of addressing the opioid epidemic in this matter. The following guide walks you through a few things that Sesame Street may be trying to do with their unique approach to the crisis.
Educate Children to Prevent Future Addiction
Sesame Street can use this broadcast to educate children about the toll that opioid addiction takes. It can help them to learn that addiction isn’t something that is chosen. It is something that can happen unexpectedly and take a toll on everyone that surrounds the person. It can also help to inform them of how dangerous opioid addiction can be in terms that they can grasp. Many of the documentaries and news programs speak in terms that children do not understand making them useless to them. Being properly informed about what can cause addiction and its dangers could keep a child from using in the future. It’s very common for people who are exposed to addiction early in life to use in the future. Proper education at an early age could be the key to lowering the addiction rates in the United States.
Ensure Children Know Addiction Isn’t Their Fault
When children are removed from a home because their parents are battling an addiction, it is often difficult for them to understand what is going on. It isn’t often fully explained to them that they have done nothing wrong to lead to the removal. Seeing that other children have been removed who are in similar situations can help them realize the change isn’t their fault. This can give them peace of mind and help them to be able to rebuild their lives.
Let Children Surrounded by Substance Abuse Know They Aren’t Alone
Many children who live with someone who is abusing drugs think that they are alone. They assume that no one else is going through the things that they are going through. This isn’t the case and the show could help them to know that. Seeing that there is a better quality of life available could spark a child to seek help from an outsider. Children who live with someone in the throes of addiction are often neglected and sometimes abused. Being able to get the children out of the situation could save their life. If the show can inform children that it’s okay to get help, they may feel more obliged to do so.
Help Parents to See Substance Abuse Affects More than Just Themselves
When someone is battling substance abuse, they are often wrapped up in themselves. They are more worried about when they are going to get their next fix than anything else. This can lead to neglect of their children and their home. This creates a very dangerous situation. Seeing a show that tells how addiction effects a child could spark someone who is battling an addiction to get help. It could help them to realize that they are hurting their kids and that they need help.
Let Families Know It’s Okay to Step in When Needed
Family members who know that someone is battling an addiction often feel guilty about stepping in when needed. Leaving children in harm’s way is not only dangerous, but it could be deadly. The show could help to show families that it’s okay to step in when needed. With more than 130 people overdosing from opioids on a daily basis in 2018, acting quickly is essential. They could see the better quality of life that Karli has once she was removed from the home. It could make the family feel that there is a chance the children in their life could have the same outcome. The show could serve as inspiration to get children out of dangerous situations.
Remove Some of the Stigma that Comes with Addiction
Many people are afraid to talk about addiction because of the stigma that it brings. They are fearful that they will be judged or that their children will be taken away instantly. It’s important to know that someone who wants to make a change can. There are many different treatment options available to help someone overcome their addiction. Seeing that a child, even though it’s a muppet, could help someone in addiction want to get help. Being able to remove the stigma of addiction could save a lot of lives in the long run.
Being able to overcome an addiction is never easy. Showing children that they are not alone if their parents are battling an addiction is important. Sesame Street aims to educate children about all different things about life. Addiction is a new topic that needs to be discussed. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction, it’s important to get help right away. You can reach out to a local treatment facility to find out more about addiction and the treatment options that are available. There is a good chance that you could seek outpatient treatment so that you can still parent your child during your recovery. This allows you to be the parent your child really needs you to be and better yourself at the same time.