It used to be that if you wanted to buy illegal drugs, you’d surreptitiously score them under a bridge, in a dark alley, a dance club or a car. But now with Snapchat, the internet video and text sharing site, you can order illegal drugs as simply as you would order groceries online.
Who Uses Snapchat?
According to Oberlo.com, a number of teens today still use the app (despite its loss in popularity due to its redesign) frequently. In fact, more than half of all U.S. Internet users of Snapchat are ages 15 to 25. As of January 2021, there were 108 million users in the United States.
Due to the Corona-Virus epidemic, many teens feel isolated and turn to the internet to feel connected. One such teen, named Samuel Chapman Berman “Sammy” decided he wanted to experiment with prescription pills and found he could order them from Snapchat and have them delivered to his house in Santa Monica. Sammy was not what you would call a teen with a substance abuse disorder. He was a sixteen year- old who had used cannabis, but not regularly. He was a good student with a record of straight “A’s,” a kid with a bright future ahead of him. The household was filled with love.
But despite his intelligence, Sammy made a grave error: he placed an order for Xanax from Snapchat’s marketing sheet of illicit drugs and prices. Sammy received an order that looked like the tranquilizer Xanax, but actually was laced with the synthetic highly toxic Fentanyl, responsible for so many overdose deaths. A screenshot from Sammy’s Snapchat account proves that he was in touch with the drug dealer.
Sammy’s father was the last one to see Sammy alive. He delivered a cheeseburger to Sammy’s room. An hour later, Sammy was dead. The paramedics who were called were unable to revive the teen. The toxicology report is still pending.
The Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Chris Evans, reports that Xanax pills are made of fentanyl and manufactured in Mexico. The DEA has removed more than 20,000 social media accounts that were related to drug sales. The Santa Monica Police called on Snapchat and Twitter to help with their investigation as they try to connect the clues: Did Sammy know the dealer? Did he first know him on Facebook? Did his friends refer Sammy to the dealer?
Berman’s Message to Help Other Parents
Needless to say, Sammy’s parents are distraught. Sammy’s celebrity mother, Dr. Laura Berman, who holds a Ph.D. degree from N.Y.U., and is a relationship and intimacy expert, is using her platform as a television and radio host, to say that “kids think, oh, I can just take this once and I won’t get addicted or I can try this once to see what it feels like, not knowing it’s going to kill you. They need to know these dealers they’re meeting with are likely giving them fentanyl-laced products. That’s really easy for anyone to overdose, especially a teenager.”
Author of eight books, Dr. Laura Berman made an announcement about Sammy’s death on Monday, February 8, the day after Sammy died, to her 28.5 K instagram followers. She and her husband went on television shows to warn parents of Snapchat’s dark side. Dr. Berman is encouraging other parents to know their kids’ passwords so they can monitor their Snapchat activity.
Unfortunately, society’s drugs are getting stronger and stronger, and are being laced with synthetics that can kill you. The dealers, on purpose, are trying to get unsuspected teens like Sammy hooked so they will become “repeat customers.” Sammy’s story is all too common during this opioid epidemic. He leaves behind two brothers, three dogs, loving parents, and a future that could have been.
Wesley Cullen Davidson
Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting. Currently, she is targeting her writing about recovery to parents whose children have substance abuse disorders.