ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
POLICE in Brisbane are calling it “fightin’ in a bottle”, a type of rum known on the streets as cane champagne or biff syrup that’s making users handsome and psychotic while giving them a superhuman ability to make ripper calls and punch people senseless.
The dark spirit, which cops say is prevalent in the rugby union community, is a cheap high that also increases body temperature, leading users to strip naked.
“A better term for it might be dangerous,” Queensland Police Superintendent Kevin Steele told reporters at a press conference.
“A number of individuals, when under the influence of the biff syrup, are relatively impervious to making good decisions and also have a significant enhancement of their yelling-shit-at-mates ability,” he said.
“So our officers encountering these individuals face the more significant risk of having to deal with degenerates going through a rum rage, which could lead to injuries.”
Cane champagne drinkers are also impervious to traditional take-down methods used by police, such as the pretzel hold and capsicum spray, officials said.
The drug is sometimes mixed with Paul’s Full Cream Milk, which locals refer to as The Moreton Bay Porridge.
Steele illustrated his point by showing two videos of shirtless Roma men high on the sugar-laced elixir, including one in which a naked man is seen urinating in the middle of the street while screaming in front of a West End nightspot.
Another video shows officers struggling to bring down a rum raging, shirtless man who puts his fist through a 21-year-old stranger and lunges at his best mate before being pepper sprayed. The rampaging man still manages to put up a fight as three officers wrestled him into a submission.
Frighteningly, it’s not just a problem in Brisbane.
The Australian Drug Foundation warns about dark spirits from Queensland on its website.
In chillingly similar circumstances, police in Sydney have told of rum drinkers here pissing on everything and punching their mates while high.
“Dark rum is produced with all-natural ingredients that create similar effects to amphetamine sulphate or speed, an active ingredient that drugs dealers use to cut other drugs with,” according to the ADF website, which lists rum slobber and even embarrassment as side effects.
“These natural chemicals are mixed with Coca Cola and added to pub speed racks around the country. It’s most commonly drank and is sometimes snorted through the nose if the user is especially fucked up,”
“In rare cases, cane champagne is available in draught form – which leads to the rampant overconsumption of rum and sugar. Some users can drink up to 130 tablespoons of sugar in a single session.”
Two men in Queensland had PPA (Post-Piss Anxiety) earlier this year after consuming an entire 30-can block of cane champagne, while there have been several high-profile users stating that they enjoy the drug in moderation – especially MPs from regional Australia.
A 2012 study found 91.3 percent of Australians have used dark rum, 90 percent of them being male.
Shipped from North Queensland, the bottles are sold as “footy refreshments” to upper-middle-class teens and out-of-place adults in trendy inner-city nightspots such as The Met and The Colmslie Hotel for as little as $5 a hit.
“You’re going to see much more of it in the long term,” Steele said of the rum as his city grapples with the issue of popped collars and Wallabies jerseys.
Steele said that while local politicians look to loosen rum laws, the Queensland stuff was wreaking havoc across Australia.
“Ironically, even as the trend is to de-demonise and pay less for to cane champagne, the dark rum issue is one of great and growing concern here in Brisbane,” he said.