Alterations in stress responsivity may be important in the vulnerability to become cocaine dependent. Thus, an index of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function was examined in abstinent cocaine-dependent patients. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of corticotropin releasing factor (CRH) were determined in 29 abstinent cocaine-dependent patients and 66 normal controls. The results showed that there was no significant difference between the abstinent cocaine-dependent patients and normal controls for CSF CRH. Also, CSF CRH concentrations were not related to cocaine-craving scores in a cue-elicited cocaine-craving procedure. Thus, these data suggest that after protracted abstinence from cocaine there is no marked dysregulation of CRH systems as measured by CSF CRH concentrations.