Rats maintained physically dependent upon morphine by scheduled access to drinking water containing morphine were trained to discriminate between s.c. injections of saline and 0.1 mg/kg of naltrexone in a discrete trial avoidance procedure in which a response on one of two choice levers would prevent or terminate the delivery of mild electric shocks to the floor of the test chember. Stimulus control of behavior by naltrexone in the morphine-dependent rat (defined as the reliable completion of at least 18 trials of a 20-trial session on the appropriate choice lever) had many of the features previously described for the stimulus control of behavior by morphine in the nondependent rat: long-term stability and reproducibility, orderly dose- and time-effect relationships and pharmacologic specificity. Stimulus control by naltrexone was blocked in a dose-related manner by morphine, an effect completely surmounted by a 10-fold increase in the dose of naltrexone suggesting a competitive antagonism. The naltrexone-induced discriminative stimuli appeared to be related to precipitated morphine withdrawal phenomena: following the abrupt withdrawal of morphine the amount and time course of naltrexone-appropriate responding were directly related to the degree of physical dependence; loss of body weight, a reliable index of morphine withdrawal in the rat, paralleled changes in naltrexone-appropriate responding; the maximum level of naltrexone-appropriate responding produced by a total of eight narcotic antagonists with agonist activity of differing prominence was a function of the extent of separation of the agonist and antagonist components of action of the drugs. Control of behavior by stimuli associated with morphine withdrawal may afford a specific animal model for studying factors relevant to the perpetuation of chronic drug use by human addicts.