The New Voices on our Helpline: Denise Ocasio and Jerry Otero, Parent Support Specialists
The Partnership at Drugfree.org welcomes Denise Ocasio, MSW CASAC-T and Jerry Otero, MA, Parent Support Specialists who will staff our bilingual Parents Toll-Free Helpline at 1-855-DRUGFREE.
Denise joins our organization from MIC- Women’s Health Services as a social worker, delivering cognitive-based, traditional psychotherapy and other services directly to patients. Prior to her time at MIC, she worked in a variety of settings including as foster care, family social work and drug abuse counseling. She earned her master’s degree in Social Work from Adelphi University and is a New York State Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee.
Denise wants those who call for advice and assistance to know that she’s here to help. “I hope to be able to use my experience and training to help parents and others struggling with substance abuse,” she explains. “My goal is to bring about change and progress when it comes to this heartbreaking and difficult issue.”
Jerry brings to our organization his extensive direct clinical and supervisory experience in the child welfare, mental health, educational and addictive disorders treatment fields, along with many years of work on the AYDESE (Spanish LifeNET) crisis and referral hotline. He is the founder of director of Cre8tive YouTH*ink LTD, a nonprofit creative arts youth development organization, and spent four years at the New York City Department of Education, where he supervised a high school drug prevention and intervention program. He also earned his master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Adelphi University and is a New York State Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor.
Jerry, who is the father of a teen himself, hopes to use his personal and professional expertise to provide much-needed support to those who reach out to him and Denise via the helpline. “I am very proud to be part of this team, and am looking forward to evolving and growing with this amazing organization,” he says.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org’s bilingual Parents Toll-Free Helpline provides concerned callers with valuable information about substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery from addiction. It can be reached at 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373). It is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm EST.