SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Dr. Laura Berman, a relationship therapist who hosts "In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman" on OWN, shared Monday that her 16-year-old son died from an overdose Sunday.
“My beautiful boy is gone,” wrote Berman in the caption of an Instagram photo of her with her son, Sam.
Berman believes a drug dealer connected with her son on Snapchat and delivered Xanax or Percocet laced with fentanyl to their home before Sam overdosed in his room. She said a toxicology analysis will officially determine what he took.
“My heart is completely shattered, and I am not sure how to keep breathing,” wrote Berman. “I post this now only so that not one more kid dies.”
She called it an “experimentation gone bad” and said she wants to warn other parents to watch their kids and monitor Snapchat, because “that’s how they get them.”
“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,” wrote Berman.
Berman remembered Sam as a “straight A student” who was “getting ready for college,” adding that she and her husband "watched him so closely.
In statement obtained by USA Today, the family wrote, "Our hearts are broken for ourselves and for all the other children that are suffering during this pandemic."
The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes fentanyl as a powerful synthetic opioid that’s similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It’s a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally.
Overdose deaths involving these types of synthetic opioid have been on the rise over the past several years and they’ve only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. in the 12 months ending in May 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency says synthetic opioids appear to be the primary driver of the increases in deaths.