Those Who Use It Swear By It, But 'Last Call' Also Has Many Doubters

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many people who suffer from alcoholism struggle for years to get sober. But now, the makers of an herbal product say that they can cut cravings, while still letting alcoholics have the occasional drink.

CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson recently  spoke with women who were willing to pay $800 for a chance to curb their cravings.

“My alcohol consumption was way above what was good for a body to have,” a woman named “Penny” said.

“Margaret” said that she “was drinking a bottle of wine every night after work.”

These women share an affliction with nearly 14 million other Americans: they abuse alcohol. But what sets them apart from the rest is that they claim to have been cured by an herbal remedy.

“The program is designed to fight the excessive cravings and the chemical battle,” said “Jamie,” a member of a program known as “Last Call.”

Last Call claims to suppress the desire for alcohol by cutting cravings. Members of the program told CBS 2 that you can continue to drink during and after completing the program.

“They don’t have to stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol can still be a part of their life,” Jamie said.

Advocates of the program said its success lies in a bottle of a product called Sobrexa, which gets its potency from the herb Diadzan, which is derived from the Kodzu plant.

Clients reported that after consuming the product several times a day, over a period of a few weeks, their desire to drink was diminished.

“It was probably for me, within the third week, I would say when I really noticed a change,” one woman said.

After eight weeks clients are supposed to be in full control of their drinking, but the program is not without its detractors.

“They divert people’s attention from the treatments that we do have available to battle alcoholism; counseling, therapy … and yet they are offering something that is not FDA approved, and may very well put someone in danger and have little effect,” St. Luke’s Hospitals’ Dr. Petrous Louvanis said.

Alcoholics Anonymous, which is the most highly regarded of the 12-step programs, told CBS 2 it will support anything that can help a person control their addiction.

But addiction specialists have said that successful treatment of alcoholism needs to be rooted in therapy and social interaction.

“It’s no doubt that it’s more effective when you add a component of other people. Talk about going through the same thing, when you add the component of a professional guiding care or recovery coach, or something like that,”  a representative from Phoenix House said.

The Last Call program offers limited counseling options for customers. Those options are available online.

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