*While the services provided by HEROES are provided free of charge, participants are required to pay for any prescriptions either with insurance or out of pocket.
Participant eligibility includes adults over 18 years with history of prior opioid-related overdose or opioid use disorder. At this time, we are only able to assist English speaking patients.
Houston sees one opioid related death every 32 hours as opioid related death rates continue to rise in Texas and across the country. Houston Police and Fire departments receive between 50-100 reports of opioid overdoses monthly, and of those about 1 of every 3 or 4 are fatal.
The Emergency Medical System – either 911 or in the ER – is often the first point of care when persons living with opioid use disorder are in crisis. These moments are critical in providing treatment and recovery resources to patients seeking help. We aim to provide comprehensive services to keep patients in treatment and recovery. We help connect patients to ongoing medicated assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, peer recovery coaching, and support groups.
The Houston ER Opioid System (HEROES) is a joint initiative between the McGovern Medical School and the School of Biomedical Informatics at University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston. We aim to assist patients navigate the complex recovery journey by incorporating medical and behavioral support services for optimum engagement and retention in outpatient treatment. We currently have over 300 patients enrolled in our cohort.
The purpose of this study is to identify the prevalence of opioid use disorder and opioid-related overdoses across Southeast Texas, and to develop a comprehensive care coordination system to improve retention of patients in long-term treatment. We will help patients engage in treatment, recovery, and follow-up to improve their chances of long-term recovery and improved quality of life. Our program involves novel medication in the emergency department, follow-up from licensed emergency medical technicians, outpatient medication-assisted treatment, and ongoing recovery coaching. Our program is funded by an award from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) targeted opioid response program.
This comprehensive system of care involves participation with emergency physicians, psychiatrists, emergency medical technicians (EMT), licensed professional counselors, certified recovery specialists, pharmacists, police and fire departments.
Some of our partners include:
PhD, MBA, EMT, FAHA
PhD, MBA, RD
PhD, CADC, LCDC
Program Manager, Research Scientist, Counselor
NCPRSS, PRS/ICPR, RSPS, PM/PRC
Peer Recovery Support Specialist
Clinical Director, Physician
Christine Bakos-Block is an alumna of the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, where she focused on interprofessional research and clinical practice in healthcare. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow with the HEROES Program. Christine lives in Houston with her husband of 18 years, 5 children, 3 dogs and 2 cats. In her capacity as a postdoc, Christine is helping to advance the goals of HEROES through expanding research and pursuing additional grant funding.
Peer Recovery Support Specialist
Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor
Yvonne is the HEROES Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. She is a Certified Criminal Justice Professional, internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a state Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. Yvonne holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in criminal justice. She has extensive experience working in the criminal justice and community and social service settings. Yvonne is passionate about serving adults and adolescents struggling with substance abuse, co-occurring disorders and behavioral issues. Yvonne is skilled at establishing positive trusting rapport with patients, with a unique ability of connecting with patients. She motivates, encourages and supports patients to live healthier life styles, live independently and strive to reach their full potential.
Data Management Analyst
Shruthi is the HEROES Data Management Analyst. She holds a Master’s degree in health informatics and has worked on various healthcare academic projects. She is instrumental in creating and managing the HEROES database. She trains the team on using the database. She is also skilled in extracting data, and creating reports and insightful dashboards for HEROES to help the team quickly gain a meaningful understanding of the data and to make better informed decisions.
If you are looking to enroll in our program, please contact our program coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call us at 713-500-3597.
The first step involves meeting in person to complete an informed consent and other necessary paperwork. We will then walk you through the program’s benefits and time commitment.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline
What is Buprenorphine and how can it assist in medication-assisted treatment?
Drug Overdose Deaths by State