Written records pertaining to addictions to alcohol and other drugs have existed since at least the colonial period in America. Society's reactions to addiction have varied widely from benign neglect to religious or moral sermonizing to attempts at scientific and medical treatments. As addictions take a large toll on the social and economic aspects of the community, treatment of addictions in modern America has become a societal imperative as well as part of government programming and big business. It is useful to realize how the understanding and treatment of addictions have evolved over time and how this evolution has led the country to its current approaches.

Early America

Alcohol use was fairly common throughout colonial America with many people, including children, drinking a little every day without ...

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