Wheels of Hope Service Update, January 2021
Wheels of Hope has relaunched and rides to treatment resumed on January 21, 2021. Since launching in January of 2020, this five-month pilot transportation program has provided an essential service to people in the Merrimack Valley beginning treatment, completing more than 100 rides to detox, residential treatment, and sober housing throughout Massachusetts, as well as to medication for addiction treatment (MAT) appointments in the Merrimack Valley.
When you’re ready, we’ll take you there.
If you live in the Merrimack Valley and have a spot at a detox, residential treatment program, or sober housing, or if you need to access or continue medication for addiction treatment (MAT), Wheels of Hope can provide you with free, safe, and confidential transportation. Wheels of Hope is a service of the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline.
Cities and towns served by Wheels of Hope: Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Boxford, Chelmsford, Dracut, Georgetown, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Littleton, Lowell, Merrimac, Methuen, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Rowley, Salisbury, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Westford, Wilmington, and West Newbury.
Rides to a detox, residential treatment program, or sober housing
Wheels of Hope provides free transportation to people in the Merrimack Valley to detox, residential treatment services, and sober housing anywhere in Massachusetts.
Rides to MAT services
For people accessing or engaged in MAT, Wheels of Hope can provide up to a week of transportation to MAT providers within the Merrimack Valley region. MAT includes methadone, Suboxone, buprenorphine, and injectable naltrexone (Vivitrol).
Clients who initiated treatment with a ride through Wheels of Hope and who are ready to move to a new stage of treatment can request a ride from the initial treatment facility, no matter where in the state it is located, to their next treatment appointment.
How to request a ride to treatment
People in the Merrimack Valley area who have secured a spot at a treatment facility can call the Helpline at 800-327-5050 to request a ride. Help is available in English, Spanish, or any other language. The Helpline is 24/7.
For a ride to a residential program, a trained Helpline Specialist will confirm that you have secured a spot at a treatment facility or sober housing by contacting the treatment service provider while you are on the phone through a three-way call. For rides to MAT, confirmation will occur after your first appointment. The Helpline Specialist will arrange for you to be picked up within 2 hours through another three-way call with the transportation company.
About the ride
Lucos Transportation of Lowell, MA is committed to providing safe, confidential rides on behalf of Wheels of Hope.
Pick up spots are in a public location, including police and fire stations, municipal offices, libraries, community centers, transportation centers, and churches. In some instances, you may be picked up from your place of residence, such as for MAT rides.
Wheels of Hope drivers are trained in issues of substance use disorder and overdose management. Cars are equipped with naloxone (Narcan®) in case a rider experiences an overdose during their ride. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lucos Transportation has equipped all cars with hand sanitizer and masks, and cars are cleaned in between each ride.
Hospitals, courts, health care providers, social service providers, and treatment centers can use the Helpline and Wheels of Hope to help clients identify treatment options and arrange safe transportation to the right facility for them.
If you are a treatment provider or other partner and want to request a presentation or become more involved in promoting Wheels of Hope, please contact us.
Free promotional materials in English and Spanish are available for order or download from the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse.
Wheels of Hope began when members of the Merrimack Valley Project identified the need for transportation services for people seeking detox and residential treatment services in the region and worked to secure funding to close the transportation gap. The service launched in January 2020 as five-month pilot transportation program funded by a Massachusetts legislative earmark. It is relaunching on January 21, 2021 funded by generous grants from the Massachusetts HEALing Communities Study and Combating Opioid Overdose through Community-level Intervention Initiative (COOCLI).
To learn about the impact of the pilot project, please see the June 2020 Service Update document.