Wheels of Hope

Wheels of Hope

Wheels of Hope Service Update, July 2020

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. As a pilot project, it has ended, with the possibility that it will resume in the future. As of Wednesday, July 1, 2020, transportation services are on pause while the pilot project is being assessed.

People seeking rides for themselves or others while Wheels of Hope is on hold should call the Helpline to identify their treatment options. Please continue to check this page for updates about the program.

To learn about the impact of the pilot project, please see the June 2020 Service Update document.

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 are beginning 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.

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 beginning MAT, Wheels of Hope can provide up to a week of transportation at the start of treatment to MAT providers within the Merrimack Valley region. MAT includes methadone, Suboxone, buprenorphine, and injectable naltrexone (Vivitrol).

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, and West Newbury.

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, Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm, and weekends 8am to 6pm, to request a ride. Help is available in English, Spanish, or any other language.

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 light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lucos Transportation has equipped all cars with hand sanitizer and masks, and cars are cleaned in between each ride.

For providers

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.

You can order and download Wheels of Hope promotional materials on the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse website.

More information

Wheels of Hope is a five-month pilot transportation program that began on January 22, 2020 and is funded by a Massachusetts legislative earmark to assess treatment-related transportation needs in the Merrimack Valley and beyond. 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. Learn more about the Merrimack Valley Project.