Dr. Laura Berman, host OWN‘s In the Bedroom With Dr. Laura Berman, and a regular guest star on The Dr. Oz Show, revealed on Instagram that her son Samuel ‘Sammy’ Chapman died of a drug overdose. He was 16.
Berman, 52, New York Times bestselling author of books such as Quantum Love, Real Sex for Real Women, and The Passion Perscription, shared the tragic news on February 7 with her 25,400 Instagram followers. According to the famous relationship and sex therapist, her son was able to buy drugs through Snapchat, a popular social media app.
She wrote, “My beautiful boy is gone. 16 years old. Sheltering at home. A drug dealer connected with him on Snapchat and gave him [fentanyl] laced Xanax 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,” Berman continued. “I post this now only so that not one more kid dies. We watched him so closely. Straight A student. Getting ready for college. Experimentation gone bad. He got the drugs delivered to the house. Please watch your kids and WATCH SNAPCHAT especially. That’s how they get them.”
Fentanyl is a “powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times stronger,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Fentanyl is typically prescribed to patients post-surgery, who suffer from chronic pain, or those whose bodies don’t respond to a lesser form of prescription pain meds.
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency‘s website states that fentanyl is sometimes “added to heroin to increase its potency,” and that “many users believe that they are purchasing heroin when it’s actually fentanyl,” which is one of the leading causes of overdose deaths.
Berman Is Calling Out for Social Media Apps to Make Universal Policy Changes
Berman told E! News in a statement that her son, whose nickname was Sammy, was “a beautiful soul who left us way too soon.” She also called on social media platforms to make a positive difference going forward.
“Our hearts are broken for ourselves and for all the other children that are suffering during this pandemic,” Berman’s statement read. “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. And we encourage every parent to manage their children’s social media as closely as possible.”
Berman Is Married to Husband Samuel Chapman
Berman, who earned two Masters and a Ph.D. degree from New York University, is originally from Glynn County, Georgia, according to her official website bio.
Berman currently splits her time homes in Los Angeles and Chicago. Married to husband Samuel Berman, she is the mother of three sons and two dogs. Sammy is survived by his mother, father, Samuel Chapman, and his two brothers.
On Father’s Day last year, Berman paid tribute to her husband on Instagram. She wrote:
Now THIS is a father. He is our champion. And our chef. And our protector. And our inspiration. And our source of laughs. I am so grateful for his part in creating our beautiful children, our family and for loving all of us so deeply and well. Happy Fathers Day my love. You deserve to be celebrated every day not just today.