Nick News Looks at Teen Substance Abuse

Kids channel cites rising number of kids in treatment as reason for program.

Last Updated: October 14, 2009 @ 2:14 PM

Nickolodeon is poised to enter some unfamiliar territory for the popular kids channel — rehab.

The network behind SpongeBob SquarePants is set to mine some heavier material than its standard tyke and tween fare when it airs a special episode of its Emmy Award-winning series "Nick News With Linda Ellerbee" on the dangers of substance abuse.

The program, entitled "Kids in Rehab," examines the lives of kids who want to get sober. It will premiere at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Part of the impetus for the program was that of the nearly 2 million Americans admitted into rehab in 2007 for substance abuse treatment, nearly 25,000 were under the age of 15, according to the producers.

“We live in a culture where drug use is glamorized, and celebrities may be sending a message that going to rehab is sort of like going to a spa,” said Ellerbee in a statement. “But real rehab is no spa. Some brave kids spoke to us honestly about their drug abuse, what it’s like to be a kid in rehab and what it’s like to try to live clean and sober after that. And it ain’t easy.”

"Nick News With Linda Ellerbee" previously has aired programs looking at parents returning from war, untouchable children in India and the Holocaust. The program recently won its seventh Emmy Award for a children’s nonfiction program for “Coming Home: When Parents Return From War.”

"Nick News" is produced by Lucky Duck Productions.