Using the quantitative 2-[14C]deoxyglucose autoradiographic method, local rates of glucose utilization were measured in rats after the administration of morphine or cocaine in the presence or absence of rewarding brain stimulation to the medial forebrain bundle. In animals that did not receive brain stimulation, cocaine significantly increased glucose utilization in the olfactory tubercle, medial prefrontal cortex and substantia nigra pars reticulata, whereas morphine significantly increased glucose metabolism in the olfactory tubercle only. Stimulation itself increased metabolic rates in a number of sites, such as the olfactory tubercle, nucleus accumbens, medial prefrontal cortex, ventral tegmental area and others. However, in self-stimulating animals both morphine and cocaine caused further increases in activity in the olfactory tubercle. Since the olfactory tubercle was the only structure to cause a significant increase in metabolic rate following each treatment, the results implicate this limbic structure in the rewarding effects of morphine, cocaine and brain-stimulation reward.