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Drop-in attendance doubles at Coulee Recovery Center 1 year after new facility opens

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - A year has passed since Coulee Council on Addictions moved to its new building on Ferry Street. Officials say they've seen nearly double the people drop in at their center. 

"The positive response has just been wonderful," said Cheryl Hancock, executive director of Coulee Council on Addictions. "The Coulee Recovery Center is a place for people who are seeking long-term recovery." 

Hancock said the appearance of the treatment space has made a big difference. 

"More people were willing to come into the building," she said. 

The old location carried a dark appearance that made it difficult to attract people in need of help. The new building helped eliminate that negative energy. 

"We are seeing almost double the people coming into that drop-in center," Hancock said. 

The project was funded through community support but it didn't come without some opposition. Members of the community were concerned the presence of people with addiction problems would create more issues for the surrounding neighborhood. 

However, a call report by the La Crosse Police Department showed total calls stayed relatively the same over the past year and calls for suspicious activity has declined over that time. 

Hancock said people need to understand the nature of addiction. 

"The reality is once people become a chronic alcoholic or a chronic addict, they can't make those choices. Those choices are not there for them. Their body is physically aching. Their mind, psychologically, is telling them, 'You have to use again.' They don't use it to get a high anymore but just to feel regular and not feel sick," she said. 

There is still plenty of work to be done, but she is proud of what they have already accomplished in this new place in the community. 

"We are not always 100 percent successful, but we know that we're making a difference. We are hitting more people and touching more lives," Hancock said. 

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