The teenage son of famed therapist Dr. Laura Berman has died following a drug overdose.
Berman shared the tragic news on Instagram Sunday, alongside a photo of herself with her 16-year-old son Samuel. The teen lost his life on Sunday while at home, after overdosing on fentanyl-laced pills. The person responsible for supplying the teen with the drugs was a drug dealer who he connected with via the social media app Snapchat, Berman wrote.
“My beautiful boy is gone. 16 years old. Sheltering at home,” Berman explained in her post. “A drug dealer connected with him on Snapchat and gave him [fentanyl] laced Xanax or Percocet (toxicology will tell) and he overdosed in his room. They do this because it hooks people even more and is good for business but it causes overdose and the kids don’t know what they are taking.”
“My heart is completely shattered and I am not sure how to keep breathing. I post this now only so that not one more kid dies,” she continued. “We watched him so closely.”
Berman went on to say that her son was a “straight A student” who was preparing for college when he got involved with some “experimentation gone bad.” She urged parents to be aware of the dangers of Snapchat, explaining that's how the drug delivery was arranged.
“Please watch your kids and WATCH SNAPCHAT especially. That’s how they get them,” she finished.
In an interview with USA Today, Berman said that when she found her son, he was already “gone.” Although first responders tried for a half hour to revive him, they were unable to.
Berman, 52, is a relationship therapist, author, and host known for her appearances on TV and radio. She is the host of “In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman,” a television show about sexual health and relationships that airs on OWN Network; she also hosts her own radio program, “Uncovered with Dr. Laura Berman.” In addition to Samuel, Berman and her husband have two other sons.
When Samuel died, he was in the midst of quarantining with his family, as many are while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Berman told USA Today. He was bored at home when he came across a dealer on Snapchat with a list of drugs for sale, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“This big, colorful menu came up with some man with a Twitter handle who was promising to bring [the drugs] by your house,” she told the outlet. “Each different drug had a different color, the way a kid would love to see it. And Snapchat is for the kids.”
Her son last asked his dad for a cheeseburger, she said; an hour later, she went into his room and he was on the floor, dead.
In a statement obtained by USA Today, Berman said that she is calling on Snapchat and Twitter to work with police on their investigation into her son’s death. She said in the interview that while a friend of her son was able to provide the parents and police with a screenshot of the drug dealer’s Snapchat profile, Snapchat will not aide police in their search for the person the account belongs to, and will only shut down the account in question, she claimed.
In their response to USA Today, Snapchat reiterated that using the app to sell illegal substances of any kind is against their policy, and said that they are “committed to working together with law enforcement in this case and in all instances where Snapchat is used for illegal purposes.”
“Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Samuel Berman Chapman and we are heartbroken by his passing,” their statement reads. “We have no higher priority than keeping Snapchat a safe environment and we will continue to invest in protecting our community.”
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