The concept of addiction is a relatively new thing. As recently as colonial America, people drank because they wanted to, there was nothing else to it, certainly not some biological drive that pushed their decisions beyond their own willpower. Over time, people began reporting feeling overcome by the urge to drink or smoke opium or do cocaine, possibly the work of the devil, and the idea that an object like a mug of beer could have an intangible hold over a human being grew into common knowledge.
Initially, it was the addict's character that was considered at fault. Only a person of poor moral fiber could become addicted to a substance (this idea has always continued to hang around in the shadows of the collective psyche to some extent).