NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a warning tonight for parents from a popular celebrity therapist who just lost her son to a drug overdose.
She says he was a straight-A student who they watched closely, but not enough when it came to social media.READ MORE: Westchester County Man Arrested On Child Pornography Charges, FBI Searching For Other Possible Victims
“He had so many dreams and so many plans,” mother Dr. Laura Berman said.
A heartbroken Berman and her husband say their 16-year-old son, Sammy, was getting ready to apply to college and wanted to travel the world.
They never imagined his life would end like this.
“This was a total shock, and I don’t think that’s the right word when you walk in and you find your son dead on the floor,” father Samuel Chapman said.
The prominent television therapist wrote on Instagram on Sunday: “My beautiful boy is gone. 16 years old. Sheltering at home. A drug dealer connected with him on Snapchat and gave him fentinyl [sic] laced Xanax or Percocet (toxicology will tell) and he overdosed in his room.”
Santa Monica, California police would only say prescription drug use may have been involved.
Berman says she learned from her son’s friend this all happened through the popular social media site.READ MORE: Nick Bilton On Documentary ‘Fake Famous’: ‘87% Of Kids Say They Want To Be A Famous Influencer’
The couple says Sammy did experiment with marijuana and they’d check on him every hour to make sure he was OK.
But they didn’t realize what was happening online.
“It’s work to check on your kids’ social media, and most of us don’t do it. We don’t even know how to get onto their devices, most of us, much less be monitoring what they’re doing and that’s a life-or-death miss for us,” Chapman said.
Child psychiatrist Dr. Jodi Gold, author of the book “Screen-Smart Parenting,” says it’s not easy to monitor what your teen does online, especially today.
Watch Grymes’ full interview with Dr. Jodi Gold —
She says constant dialogue is crucial, not only about drugs, but learning what games and social media sites they’re using and asking who they’re talking to.
“I’m not even against setting an alarm at 2 o’clock in the morning and making sure your kids are actually sleeping,” Gold told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes. “If you’re concerned your kids are up all night, I think a lot of the dangerous stuff does happen in the middle of the night. People are disinhibited. There’s less parental supervision.”
Gold recommends having your teen put away their devices during meals and overnight. She says watch for red flags, like increased secrecy and changes in mood or behavior. As for Berman, she hopes telling Sammy’s story will save at least one life.MORE NEWS: New Jersey Man Creates 14-Foot Snow Sculpture Of Lincoln Memorial In Front Yard
In a statement, Snapchat says it’s working with law enforcement in this case and has “zero tolerance” for anyone using its platform for illegal purposes.