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OWN TV Host Dr. Laura Berman Recalls Feeling "Furious and Helpless" After Teenage Son's Tragic Death

Mona Thomas
·3 min read
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Dr. Laura Berman is opening about the loss of her 16-year-old son.

On Feb. 9, the New York Times best-selling author and relationship therapist spoke with Today's Katie Snow about the day she found her son, Samuel Berman Chapman, unconscious from an apparent overdose of fentanyl-laced Xanax pills that were purchased through Snapchat.

"I didn't intend for us to be on the news," she said while sitting next to her husband Samuel Chapman. "I just felt helpless. All I was thinking about is this couldn't happen again. And I was so furious and helpless."

She recalled the day she found her son unconscious in his room, after the teen "asked his dad for a cheeseburger."

"An hour later I went into his room," Berman remembered, "because we'd been talking about an internship for the summer that he wanted to do, and he was on the floor and gone."

Her husband further explained how they discovered Samuel used Snapchat to purchase the drugs. "This colorful menu came up with some man with a Twitter handle who was promising to bring it by your house. Each different drug had a different color, the way a kid would love to see it," he said. "And Snapchat is for the kids."

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When the parents were asked if they thought their son knew he was ordering fentanyl, they both simultaneously shook their head and remarked, "No way."

Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Chris Evans explained the fentanyl-laced pills are "50 times more potent than heroin" and a situation his department "haven't really seen before and haven't really faced."

Dr. Berman's husband advised that if social media platforms "want to pretend to be responsible, this is a great place to change their behavior." He goes on to add that "Big Tech," like Snapchat and similar platforms, are "not taking its responsibility in helping the police find the dealer."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">On Sunday, relationship therapist Dr. Laura Berman and her husband lost their 16-year-old son to a drug overdose. Now they’re speaking out to warn about the danger of buying pills on Snapchat. <a href="https://twitter.com/tvkatesnow?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tvkatesnow</a> reports. <a href="https://t.co/Id5uKzyoOT">pic.twitter.com/Id5uKzyoOT</a></p>&mdash; TODAY (@TODAYshow) <a href="https://twitter.com/TODAYshow/status/1359131286720319489?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 9, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Snapchat released a statement to E! News following the announcement by Dr. Berman on her Instagram account, stating, "Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Samuel Berman Chapman and we are heartbroken by his passing. We are committed to working together with law enforcement in this case and in all instances where Snapchat is used for illegal purposes. We have zero tolerance for using Snapchat to buy or sell illegal drugs."

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)