Dr. Laura Berman, a relationship therapist who has appeared on TODAY, is sharing a warning to parents after announcing the overdose death of her son.
“My beautiful boy is gone. 16 years old. Sheltering at home,” Berman began an emotional Instagram on Monday. “A drug dealer connected with him on Snapchat and gave him fentinyl (sic) laced Xanax and he overdosed in his room… My heart is completely shattered and I am not sure how to keep breathing.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine, but 50 to 100 times more potent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH). Synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl, are the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths.
Berman noted that Sam was a straight-A student and that she and her husband monitored the teen “so closely.” At the time of his death, he was "getting ready for college" and planning for his future.
“Experimentation gone bad,” Berman wrote. “He got the drugs delivered to the house. Please watch your kids and WATCH SNAPCHAT especially. That’s how they get them.”
Since sharing the heartbreaking news, Berman has been inundated with support, with many of Sam’s classmates sharing memories.
“I had the pleasure of being in Sam’s positive psychology class for a semester, he was such a sweet soul,” wrote one person in the comments.
Added another, “Sam was in my Neuroscience class this year. He knew everything about the brain and practically taught the class alongside our teacher. What a loss. Sending prayers to you and your family.”
People are more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than a car crash, according to the National Safety Council.