If you think drug addiction is a recent problem, look back into the annals of the old west and beyond. Laudanum (an alcoholic tincture of opium) was widely used in the 1800's as a pain reliever before aspirin came onto the scene. Here’s some notable users: Lord Byron, Kate Chopin, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe. Its use is mentioned in many literary works.
Victorian women were prescribed the drug for relief of menstrual cramps and vague aches and used it to achieve the pale complexion associated with tuberculosis (frailty and paleness were particularly prized in females at the time for some unknown reason) If you watched the movie, "Tombstone" you would have noticed Wyatt Earp's wife had an affection for using it. I do not know how historically accurate this was, but I believe she died of an overdose of some sort of narcotic.