OWN host Dr. Laura Berman says she tested teen son for drugs before fatal overdose
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Berman and her husband, Samuel Chapman, discovered their son Samuel "Sammy" Berman Chapman, 16, dead in their Santa Monica, Calif. home on Feb. 7. He died from an apparent fentanyl-laced overdose he is believed to have obtained through the Snapchat app.
In a sneak peek of Berman's Tuesday appearance on "The Dr. Oz Show," Berman reveals she didn't have any inclination that her son was using drugs. She said she and her husband "regularly" tested Sammy for drugs after learning of his past experimentation with marijuana.
"He had experimented with cannabis several months prior, and when we had discovered that, obviously we came down very firmly, we had a zero-tolerance. We even got him a drug counselor that he met with and continued to," the 51-year-old host of OWN's "In the Bedroom" says in a clip via People.
Berman also said Sammy met with a therapist "once a week."
In early February.Dr. Laura Berman discovered her teenage son Sammy dead in early February of an apparent overdose. (Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
"We tested him regularly," she adds.
Days after the family tragedy, Berman spoke to Fox News about discovering her teenage son. She explained finding messages between her son and a drug dealer on Snapchat. He's believed to have suffered an apparent overdose after taking fentanyl-laced Xanax or Percocet. Toxicology reports are still pending.
Berman told us she and Chapman had an open dialogue with their son about drugs when they first discovered his past cannabis use. She said the couple "did not encourage or allow it" and "watched him very carefully." Berman and Chapman have two other sons: Jackson, 15 and Ethan, 23.
At the time, Berman also issued a warning to parents of adolescents about the growing rate of opioid-related deaths in America.
She also pleaded with parents to regularly check in with their kids amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic who may "feel immortal and infallible and are stuck at home, bored, stiff and trying to connect."
"Don't think your kid is safe just because they're sheltering at home with you," Berman said. "Even if your teenager isn't really giving you the credibility and listening to you, they do deeply care about what is happening with their peers. If they can relate to my son and see themselves in him and see what happened to him, use that. Use that to get through to your children."
Sammy is believed to have communicated with a drug dealer on the Snapchat app, Berman says. (Photo courtesy of Samuel Chapman)
Berman previously told us that a screenshot from Sammy's Snapchat account appears to show a drug dealer he communicated with provided a "marketing sheet" of drugs and prices to him. Berman said she believes the drug dealer delivered Sammy laced drugs but that her son would not have had the intention of consuming fentanyl.
"I know he did not know he was taking fentanyl. He was not interested in that; he was scared of it. He did not actively understand addiction and did not want to be addicted yet unfortunately, most American teenagers experiment in these fentanyl-laced supposedly relatively innocent experimental drugs," the "Language of Love" podcast host said.
Following Berman's statement on Instagram about her son's death, Snapchat released a statement.
"Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Samuel Berman Chapman and we are heartbroken by his passing," a company spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Fox News. "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. Using Snapchat for illegal purposes is firmly against our community guidelines and we enforce against these violations."
The spokesperson said the company was "constantly improving" its capabilities to detect drug-related activity.
"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," the statement concluded.