OWN TV host Dr. Laura Berman is mourning the death of her son, Samuel, who died at 16 after an accidental overdose from drugs that were obtained by connecting with a dealer on Snapchat.
On Monday, February 8, Berman confirmed her son died one day prior at their family home in Santa Monica, Calif., from an accidental overdose of fentanyl laced Xanax.
"Our son Sammy was a beautiful soul who left us way too soon," the relationship and intimacy therapist said in a statement provided by her husband, Samuel Chapman. "Our hearts are broken for ourselves and for all the other children that are suffering during this pandemic."
In her statement, Berman asked social media platforms to help join in on the investigation into Samuel's untimely death. "We call on Snapchat and Twitter to help the Santa Monica Police with their investigation, which according to the police is something the big technology companies regularly refuse to do," Berman shared. "And we encourage every parent to manage their children's social media as closely as possible."
A Snapchat representative responded to Berman's loss the same day and said they are "constantly improving" the app's capabilities to detect drug-related activity. "Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Samuel Berman Chapman and we are heartbroken by his passing," the company spokesperson said in a statement.
"We are committed to working together with law enforcement in this case and in all instances where Snapchat is used for illegal purposes," they added. "We have zero-tolerance for using Snapchat to buy or sell illegal drugs."
Berman first shared the tragic news on Instagram and explained that Samuel got "the drugs delivered to the house" in an "experimentation gone bad."
"My beautiful boy is gone. 16 years old," the host of In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman captioned the photo of her holding her son. "My heart is completely shattered and I am not sure how to keep breathing."
Berman, 52, said "a drug dealer connected with him on Snapchat," and gave him the fentanyl laced Xanax. "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," she explained before warning other parents to "watch your kids and WATCH SNAPCHAT" especially.
"That’s how they get them," Berman added.
The TV host recalled that Samuel was a "straight A student" who was "getting ready for college," before the drug experimentation ended his life.
Berman also re-posted other users' posts who shared the photo of herself with Samuel on her own Instagram Story. "If you have teens, please read this and get them off Snapchat ASAP!" she wrote on her Story. "This is a trend now and overdoses amongst teens is on the rise."
Berman first shared the news of her 16-year-old son's death in a statement to USA TODAY.