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TV Host Grieving Loss of Age 16 Son Who Died After Reportedly Purchasing Drugs on Snapchat

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On Feb. 7, host, author and relationship expert Dr. Laura Berman experienced something no parent should ever have to experience.

Her son Samuel, just 16, had connected with a drug dealer and was sold fentanyl-laced drugs that ultimately claimed his life, Berman said.

“I went into his room, because we had been talking about an internship … and he was on the floor,” Berman said in an interview with NBC News.

Despite being regularly tested for marijuana and passing, Samuel reportedly managed to make a connection and didn’t even have to leave his home to get the drugs, a terrifying thought for parents.

“My beautiful boy is gone,” Berman posted on social media. “16 years old. Sheltering at home. A drug dealer connected with him on Snapchat and gave him fentinyl laced Xanax and he overdosed in his room.

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“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. 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.”

The boy’s father told CNN that up until that day, there had “never been a hard drug in our house that we were aware of, until this Snapchat dealer met my son online.”

“He had plans and dreams,” he added. “He was a good student and a great friend to his fellow students.”

Rachel Racusen, a spokeswoman for Snapchat, said that the platform has “zero tolerance” for its services being used in the sale of illegal drugs.

“We are committed to working together with law enforcement in this case and in all instances where Snapchat is used for illegal purposes,” she said.

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“We are constantly improving our technological capabilities to detect drug-related activity so that we can intervene proactively. If you witness illegal behavior on Snapchat, please use our in-app tools to report it quickly and confidentially, so we can take action.

“We have no higher priority than keeping Snapchat a safe environment and we will continue to invest in protecting our community.”

Dr. Berman has since set up a group called “Parents for Safer Children,” where those who have lost their children in similar ways can come together, support one another and warn others of the ways their own loved ones managed to obtain lethal drugs.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking