In my last blog post https://wesleycullendavidson.com/addiction/sesame-st-tackles-addiction, I wrote about the foresightedness of Sesame Street to break the stigma of addiction. Through a six-year-old Muppet, Karli, in foster care, a parent’s addiction is explained in simple terms so it can allay a child’s fears that the parent is never coming home.
Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News medical correspondent, in his USA Today’s Opinion column, “Opioids: ‘Sesame Street’ Muppet breaks stigma,” October 27, 2019, reports that “children are the hidden victims of the opioid epidemic and they are also part of the solution.”
According to Siegel’s figures, nearly six million children younger than eleven have parents suffering from drug addiction. To reduce the number of children in foster care due to parent’s substance abuse problem and to break the possible future cycle of addiction within families, intervention “camps” have sprung up within the United States.
These non-profit Eluna camps for at-risk children, ages 9-12, operate in states hit hard by the opioid crisis: California, Ohio as well as Eastern states such as New Hampshire. Within these thirteen camps with names like Erin and Mariposa (Butterfly), children can talk about their feelings with other like-minded children suffering from similar situations that have impacted their lives such as neglect, grief, and trauma. Mental Health experts run the successful programs that stress coping skills to ameliorate the childrens’ lives.
Children learn from mentors as well to accept that addiction is a disease. They learn to trust adults.
Siegel notes that a three-year study found that close to 100% of children who participated in the Elena program never used a substance for the purposes of getting high or found themselves in trouble with the juvenile justice system.
With programs such as Sesame Street and Eluna, kids who have absorbed the fallout of the opioid crisis, will feel less guilt and isolation.