The Psychoactive Substance Abuse and Dependence (PSDA) section of the revised, 3rd edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R) bears a close correspondence to the conceptualization of a dependence syndrome as posited by Edwards, Arif & Hodgson (1981). Further, DSM-III-R represents a major shift in psychodiagnostics. The present study investigated hypothesized properties of the dependence syndrome and examined the characteristics of DSM-III-R criteria with a sample of opiate users. Findings indicated general support for the unidimensional postulate of the dependence syndrome but did not support the weighting of syndrome elements within DSM-III-R. The implications of such findings for the proposed DSM-IV are discussed.