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Venom was a top secret super steroid, developed in Project Gilgamesh, that granted super-strength and increased physical durability to its user. However it had addictive effects and the user must use it periodically or suffer long periods of physical weakness. Likewise, a constant infusion is needed to sustain the effect for long periods of time, if the supply of Venom is halted, the user immediately returns to normal. Excess injection of Venom at once will cause pain to the user and risk death. Long term usage will cause significant body degradation until the user's system fatally collapses. At that point, the only thing capable of sustaining the users body is Venom itself. The potency of Venom is such that even decades after development there is still no drug capable of rivaling Venom in power.
In the 2030s, Bane's extensive use of Venom took its toll on his body, rendering him completely incapacitated to the point where Venom was the only thing that could keep him alive. He had to entrust somebody to assist him. However, his assistant cashed in by making Venom to place in small packets called slappers, which give a small adrenaline rush to the user, and selling it on the street.