Programming Connection

The 180 Bailey Bus 

Direction 180
Halifax, NS
2016

The 180 Bailey Bus is a mobile methadone program that operates in the communities of Dartmouth, Fairview and North End Halifax, N.S. The bus stops for one hour per day at fixed locations so a nurse and case manager can provide people with their daily methadone intake to address their opioid dependency.

The program was started by Direction 180, a community-based methadone program, in 2013 in response to a 300-person waiting list to enter a methadone treatment program. Cindy MacIsaac, the Executive Director of Direction 180, knew that something needed to be done to help people who were in withdrawal and in great risk. She was inspired to create the Broadening Access, Improving Lives and Engaging You (shortened to the Bailey Bus) after visiting various programs that had offered methadone maintenance treatment in Baltimore and Salisbury, Maryland.

Initially, the 180 Bailey Bus offered lower dose range and minimal supports to help people who were waitlisted for their comprehensive program. But Direction 180 shifted their model in January 2016 to provide daily witnessed ingestion for all clients using the mobile van without a ceiling on dosing. Last year alone, they served over 170 people per day, seven days a week.

In addition, they have adopted the practice of dispensing HIV and other chronic and acute health medications to help individuals who have challenges adhering to their treatment. 

The program reduces the harms associated with intravenous drug use such as the transmission of HIV and hepatitis, the risk of overdose, and criminal activity.

“In a city that is constantly facing gentrification, people are being moved out of where a fixed site is, beyond the margins of the downtown. Our program can bring the services directly to them and respond to their needs,” explains Cindy.

For more information, contact Cindy MacIsaac at direction180@ns.aliantzinc.ca.