TV therapist exposes emojis used by kids to buy drugs after losing son, 16, to overdose
Dr Laura Berman, who used to host OWN‘s 'In the Bedroom With Dr Laura Berman', is now sharing the slang words and emojis teenagers use to buy drugs after losing her 16-year-old son. Through this initiative, the TV therapist is trying to help other parents so that they can decrypt their children’s coded messages to buy drugs.
Berman’s son Samuel Chapman died in February 2021 after he contacted a drug dealer on Snapchat and purchased Xanax that was adulterated with fentanyl. He reportedly had no idea that the drug dealer had mixed his Xanax with fentanyl. On Tuesday, June 22, Berman took to Instagram and shared a chart of drug-related slang words children use to talk about drugs.
The 51-year-old wrote, “Every generation has its slang for drugs and as an ever-evolving language, it can be difficult for parents to keep up. When I was coming of age, grass meant Majiuana [marijuana]. Mary-jane. But, the term ‘weed’ only came to prominence from the mid-1990s onward. With the rise of crack and cocaine in the 1970’s and 1980’s, we were introduced to a whole new vocabulary to refer to these new party drugs. As these drugs came onto the scene and hit our streets, new slang was also created to describe them.”
Berman also mentioned that the parental-control app @barktechnologies “does an amazing job trying to keep up with current slang.” She added: “Following on from my post about emojis parents should know, here is a list of drug-related terms you should know. If you haven’t already, please sign our petition to #LetParentsProtect on social media. change.org/letpartentsprotect via the link in bio.”
Earlier in June, she had shared a chart compiling the drug-related emojis that people should be aware of. At the time, she had written, “Teens today talk about drugs in a language they’re fluent in - emojis. Instead of writing out words and structuring sentences, teenagers and young adults are using emojis to express thoughts or emotions in conversations with their friends and online strangers. So, it’s important that parents become educated on the language our kids are speaking.”
In February, Berman had announced the death of her son on social media. The devastated mother stated, “My beautiful boy is gone. 16 years old. Sheltering at home. A drug dealer connected with him on Snapchat and gave him fentinyl laced Xanax or Percocet (toxicology will tell) and he overdosed in his room. They do this because it hooks people even more and is good for business but It causes overdose and the kids don’t know what they are taking.”
“My heart is completely shattered and I am not sure how to keep breathing. I post this now only so that not one more kid dies. We watched him so closely. Straight A student. Getting ready for college. Experimentation gone bad. He got the drugs delivered to the house. Please watch your kids and WATCH SNAPCHAT especially. That’s how they get them,” Berman said.
Recently, Berman along with other parents who lost their kids to drugs after buying them on social media protested outside Snapchat's office in Santa Monica, California. She told Fox 11 that she had a talk with CEO Evan Spiegel also whom she told, “You’re not doing enough to help the police when these cases come up finding these killers and that you’re not allowing parent monitoring software on your app where kids are spending time.”
Berman accused Spiegel of saying that “there were privacy issues and manual processes involved that prevented that; the manual processes come when they call police to save a life. If that’s not scalable then shame on them.”