Nalmefene (6-methylene-naltrexone) is a potent, orally active, opiate antagonist. IC50's were obtained for nalmefene, naloxone and naltrexone using radiolabelled prototype ligands for mu, kappa and delta receptors in homogenates of rat brain minus cerebellum. Nalmefene antagonized the bindings of [3H]-dihydromorphine, [3H]-ethylketocyclazocine and [3H]-D-ala-D-leu enkephalin with IC50's in the low nanomolar range. At the central mu receptor, nalmefene bound with an IC50 of 1.0 nM, equal to that of naltrexone and approximately four times lower than that of naloxone. At central kappa and delta sites the IC50's for nalmefene were somewhat lower than those of naltrexone and considerably lower than those of naloxone. All three antagonists had sodium indices less than 1.0. These results indicate that nalmefene is a universal opiate antagonist, has no agonist character at the central mu site and binds more effectively to central opiate receptors than either naloxone or naltrexone.