The subjective and behavioral effects of p.o. administered methocarbamol, lorazepam and placebo were studied in a nonresidential group of adult male volunteers with histories of recreational substance abuse including sedative/hypnotics. In the first phase of the investigation, a dose run-up of methocarbamol (up to 12 g) was conducted in six subjects to determine appropriate doses. In the second phase, a randomized block cross-over study using 14 subjects was conducted. The following drug conditions were tested in the cross-over phase: placebo, lorazepam 1, 2 and 4 mg, and methocarbamol 2.25, 4.5 and 9 g. Drug conditions were tested under double-blind conditions. Psychomotor and cognitive performance measures and subject- and observer-rated behavioral responses were measured daily before dosing and for 5.5 hr after drug administration. The results showed that both lorazepam and methocarbamol produced statistically significant dose-related increases in subjects' ratings of drug effect and liking, although only lorazepam increased morphine-benzedrine group (MGB) scale scores. Methocarbamol also increased ratings on measures indicating the emergence of dysphoric and other side effects at high doses. Both drugs impaired psychomotor and cognitive performance, with lorazepam generally producing greater effects than methocarbamol. The results indicate that methocarbamol, at doses well above those used therapeutically, has some potential to be abused by persons with histories of sedative/hypnotic abuse; however, this potential for abuse is probably decreased by the accompanying side effects at high doses and is probably less than that of lorazepam.