Drug addiction has likely been a problem for humans for as long as psychoactive substances have existed. The use of opium, for example, can be traced back to ancient civilizations in Asia and Europe. However, the contemporary understanding of drug addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease is relatively recent and based on decades of scientific research. The first modern treatment programs for addiction emerged in the mid-20th century, and the understanding of addiction as a disease has continued to evolve and inform treatment approaches.