Withdrawal from opiates and other drugs of abuse in human addicts is associated with a state of anxiety that may be of motivational relevance for the maintenance of drug addiction. Previous attempts with rats to model the anxiogenic-like effects of opiate withdrawal using the elevated plus-maze have met with mixed success. The current study sought to determine whether spontaneous and naloxone-precipitated opiate withdrawal could be observed reliably in rats made dependent on morphine through implantation of two morphine pellets (75 mg morphine base each). Seventy-two hours after implantation of either morphine or placebo pellets, rats were tested in the elevated plus-maze. In Experiment 1, pellets were removed 8 or 12 h prior to test; results indicated an anxiogenic-like effect (reduction in time spent in the open arms) of opiate withdrawal at 8 but not 12 h postpellet removal. In Experiment 2, pellets were not removed, but withdrawal was precipitated with naloxone (0.003-0.03 mg/kg s.c.). Naloxone dose dependently precipitated a reduction in exploration of the open arms of the plus-maze. The results suggest that both spontaneous and precipitated withdrawal from continuous morphine administration via pellet implantation result in demonstrable anxiogenic-like effects in the plus-maze.