Oprah’s TV relationship expert sues Snapchat’s parent company over son’s fentanyl death

LOS ANGELES – Dr. Laura Berman is a TV host specializing in relationships on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Not only does she host In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman, but she’s also been a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show and hosts her own nationally syndicated radio program, Uncovered with Dr. Laura Berman.

Now she’s making headlines on a more personal level. Berman is one of 64 other parents suing Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, after her 16-year-old son Sammy died from fentanyl poisoning.  She claims that the system’s algorithms help connect young people, like Sammy, to drug dealers.

“They search good neighborhoods with rich kids through Snapchat, and they network among those kids and set up profiles that make them 16-year-olds,” Berman’s husband, Sam Chapman, told Emily’s Hope during a podcast episode of Grieving Out Loud

Chapman said that on February 7, 2021, a drug dealer reached out to Sammy on Snapchat and delivered a deadly dose of fentanyl, just like a pizza, to his Los Angeles home. 

“I do have PTSD. It’s not as bad as it once was. I was there when he died. I tried to resuscitate him, but I did not succeed,” Chapman said.

According to The New York Post, Snap will try to have the case dismissed on October 18 at the Superior Court in Los Angeles. They claim that the complaint “is riddled with false claims about how the Snapchat app works.”

In addition to suing Snap, the family is also pushing for the passage of the Let Parents Choose Protection Act, also known as Sammy’s Law. If passed, the bill would require large social media companies to allow parents to track their kids online via third-party software. 

“What we’ve experienced is the Biden Administration probably wouldn’t sign something like that because social media people are part of his administration and part of his campaign,” Chapman said.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 60% of teens aged 13 to 17 used Snapchat in 2022.