OCAY Tenafly | Our Community Allied With Youth
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Our Community Allied with Youth

Our Community Allied with Youth (OCAY), formed in 2016, is a community coalition in Tenafly, NJ coming together to help reduce youth substance use. OCAY is made possible by a grant awarded to Tenafly Public Schools from the Drug-Free Communities program.


The Goals of OCAY

The Coalition seeks to reduce alcohol sales to minors through policy change initiatives to reduce access to alcohol, by educating local alcohol permit holders, and advocating for changes in law enforcement and court policies and practices related to substance use violations.

OCAY promotes awareness and education on the effect of marijuana by providing trainings and technical assistance on signs and symptoms of marijuana use to teachers, parents and professionals that work with youth. The Coalition hosts events that educate the community about the health, social, and legal consequences of marijuana use among youth in grades 6th through 12th.

The OCAY Coalition develops environment strategies to reduce access to prescription drugs, such as hosting Prescription Drug Take Back events and implementing Operation Medicine Cabinet.
We host community forums to educate community members of all ages and walks of life about medication security in homes, and how to safely dispose of medication.

This Is What Happens to Your Brain on Opioids

Driven by opioid addiction, drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Opioids are part of a drug class that includes the illegal drug heroin and powerful pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and many others. In 2015, more than 33,000 people died from overdoses involving opioids. Every day in the United States more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for not using prescription opioids as directed. 

Lily Fang‘s animation, Susan’s Brain, is part of a free online course produced by HarvardX and Harvard Health Publications. The course, The Opioid Crisis in America, challenges preconceptions about addiction and about who can become addicted to opioids, and this animation illustrates changes in the brain that lead to addiction. Dr. Elena Chartoff and Dr. Hilary Connery, both of Boston’s McLean Hospital advised on the brain science within this animation. This video is provided courtesy of the President’s and Fellows of Harvard College © 2017. 

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic’s belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email sfs@natgeo.com. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.


FREE EVENT | Tuesday March 20, 2018 7:30 pm

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, e-cigarettes are popular among teens and are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States. Their easy availability, alluring advertisements, various e-liquid flavors, and the belief that they’re safer than cigarettes have helped make them appealing to this age group. In addition to the unknown health effects, early evidence suggests that e-cigarette use may serve as an introductory product for preteens and teens who then go on to use other tobacco products, including cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and premature death. Our Community Allied with Youth (OCAY) invites you to learn more about the realities of vaping at our event “Vaping: What’s in the Mist?” on Tuesday March 20, 2018 at 7 pm at the Clinton Inn (145 Dean Dr., Tenafly, NJ), featuring renowned speaker and DARE Officer of the Year Timothy Shoemaker with a panel of experts including Detective Bill Barnes, School Resource Officer and Janet Gould, Student Assistance Counselor.

More teens vaping as cigarette smoking declines

While fewer American teens are lighting up cigarettes, more of them are vaping instead, a new report shows.

At the same time, marijuana use has held steady as it remains more popular than cigarettes and, in a piece of good news, misuse of opioid painkillers like OxyContin has actually dropped among adolescents.

In 2017, more than 1 in 4 high school seniors said they’ve vaped during the past year — and most apparently don’t know they’re toying with a potentially addictive product.

Nearly 28 percent of 12th graders reported trying an e-cigarette or other vaping device in 2016, according to results from the 2017 Monitoring the Future survey, sponsored by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

But when asked what they’d inhaled while vaping, about 52 percent of high school seniors responded “just flavoring.” Only 33 percent said they’d inhaled vapor that contains nicotine.

“They don’t even realize that what they’re using is a tobacco product,” said Erika Sward, assistant vice president of the American Lung Association.

E-cigarettes contain fewer harmful chemicals than traditional tobacco products, and might prove useful in helping adults quit smoking, said NIDA Deputy Director Dr. Wilson Compton.

But “that’s a very different story when you’re talking about youths who may not have used any other tobacco product,” Compton pointed out. “Instead of this being a tradeoff, this could be an entree into what we know can be a lifelong, extraordinarily harmful habit. Kids that start with vaping do transition to smoked tobacco more often than those who’ve never used e-cigarettes.”


Event was a great success

On March 30th, Our Community Allied with Youth (OCAY) of Tenafly presented “Under Pressure” at The Clinton Inn in Tenafly, NJ and featured Ray Lucas, NFL player and survivor. Mr. Lucas shared his story of painkiller addiction, near-suicide, and eventually: recovery. Ray Lucas played seven seasons in the NFL as a quarterback and special teams player for the New England Patriots, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Baltimore Ravens. When he was sidelined by an injury and his career abruptly halted at age 30, he initially turned to painkillers for relief, but before long they became the problem rather than the solution. Following Ray Lucas, a panel of experts answered questions about drug and alcohol addiction, underage drinking, binge drinking, and prevention.
Approximately 130 members of our community attended the event.

Get involved…We can all be OCAY!


Our Community with a Common Goal

Our vision for OCAY is to enhance and extend our role as the primary organization driving focus on the critical issue of youth substance use.



OCAY helps us raise awareness about Alcohol and Drugs in our community