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More than 38 years ago, the staff and board of the Harmarville Rehabilitation Center recognized a need for intensive, long-term rehabilitation for drug addicts. The addicts they saw returning from outpatient treatment from Federal Hospital in Lexington, KY were not getting the level of treatment their problems required. Under the supervision of the Harmarville director and board, Alpha House was born.

Alpha House’s therapeutic residential community program was based on drug-free therapeutic models established by New York’s Day Top Village and Phoenix House. It began in 1971 as a single house in Shadyside. In its first year, Alpha House initiated an educational program so that residents who had not graduated from high school could earn a diploma. By the end of its first year, its direction and program were firmly established so it was incorporated as an independent entity.

Alpha House continued to grow. Within two years of opening, Alpha House purchased the house next door and later connected the two houses. Alpha House began an outpatient program for people who, with the support of counseling, could live in the community. As part of its commitment to the local community, Alpha House began providing practical training for students and physicians. It became a field-training site for University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University graduate students and for resident physicians of the Family Center of Shadyside Hospital.

An emphasis on quality care for all drug-addicted adults has resulted in continual program expansion. Alpha House obtained a Pennsylvania Department of Education license for its Educational Program and developed a women’s program to meet the specific needs of female addicts.

In addition, realizing that its staff is its most valuable resource, Alpha House implemented a dynamic staff training/development program.

Alpha House has evolved into a mature and highly respected agency that fosters personal growth and change in its residents and staff. It is proud of its rich history and its reputation for providing high quality, effective services in a firm, loving therapeutic community.

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