The Houston Emergency Response Opioid Engagement System (HEROES) is a community-based research program integrating assertive outreach, medication-assisted treatment, behavioral counseling, peer recovery support, and paramedic follow-up in Houston Texas. The objective is to compare differences in engagement and retention in treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder.



Eligible Ages
Over 18 Years
Eligible Genders
Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion Criteria

  • In otherwise good health based on physician assessment and medical history - Tests positive in urine sample for opioids - Patients express a willingness to stop opioid use - Meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria for opioid dependence - Patients must be able to speak English - Be agreeable to and capable of signing informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

  • Non-English-speaking patients - Have a known sensitivity to buprenorphine or naloxone - Be physiologically dependent on alcohol, benzodiazepines or other drugs of abuse that require immediate medical attention. Other substance use diagnoses are not exclusionary. - Have a medical condition that would, in the opinion of the study physician, make participation medically hazardous, including unstable cardiovascular disease, neurological deficits, trauma, acute hepatitis, stroke, and liver or renal disease) - Be acutely psychotic, severely depressed, and in need of inpatient treatment, or is an immediate suicide risk - Be a nursing or pregnant female

Study Design

Phase 4
Study Type
Intervention Model
Single Group Assignment
Primary Purpose
None (Open Label)

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
Suboxone induction into MAT in the ED
Suboxone induction into medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in the emergency department (ED)
  • Drug: Suboxone
    8mg of buprenorphine/2mg of naloxone
  • Behavioral: Brief counseling in the ED
    Patients will receive brief counseling from ED physician prior to discharge about the options for outpatient treatment, as well as opioid dependency.Consented patients will be provided with a pamphlet from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration called "Facts About Buprenorphine", as well as an information packet for study contact information for the opioid recovery network providers.
  • Behavioral: Referral to outpatient treatment
    A referral will be made to one of the affiliated MAT clinics.
  • Behavioral: Follow-up coaching
    A designated paramedic with the Houston Fire Department (called the navigator or care coordinator) will work with UTHealth to jointly follow-up on patients both telephonically and in-person. The Houston Fire Department paramedic will provide brief information sharing and assist with coordination in scheduling or registering with MAT clinics or recovery coaching.

Recruiting Locations

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Houston, Texas 77030
James R Langabeer, EMT, PhD

More Details

The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston

Study Contact

James R Langabeer, EMT, PhD

Detailed Description

The Houston Emergency Response Opioid Engagement System (HEROES) is a non-randomized cohort study based at the University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston. This study seeks to develop an emergency- initiated opioid system of care for individuals with prior opioid overdose and opioid use disorder. The study involves both assertive outreach on individuals who have recent overdoses within the last 72 hours, as well as individuals who are admitted to local hospital emergency departments. The study explores the effect of the combination of assertive outreach, same-day induction into medication-assisted treatment, ongoing maintenance treatment, behavioral counseling, peer recovery support, and paramedic follow-up on patient outcomes. The primary outcome is engagement and retention outpatient treatment. Secondary outcomes include quality of life assessment as well as subsequent relapses and overdoses. The hypothesis is that patients with earlier induction into MAT treatment in the emergency department, who receive routine follow-up, are more likely to engage and be retained in a longer-term treatment program for their addiction.


Study information shown on this site is derived from ClinicalTrials.gov (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.