With regard to its chemical structure, methcathinone is to cathinone what methamphetamine is to amphetamine. Although it is a drug of abuse outside the United States, methcathione is only recently making an appearance on the clandestine market in this country and has just been classified a Schedule I substance under the Emergency Scheduling Act. We have previously demonstrated that racemic methcathinone produces locomotor stimulation in mice, and substitutes for cocaine and (+)amphetamine in rats trained to discriminate either cocaine or (+)amphetamine, respectively, from saline in tests of stimulus generalization. Because an enantiomeric potency comparison has never been reported for the optical isomers of methcathinone, in the present investigation we synthesized samples of S(-)- and R(+)methcathinone and compared them for their ability: a) to produce locomotor stimulation in mice, b) to elicit cocaine-like responding in rats trained to discriminate 8.0 mg/kg of cocaine from saline vehicle, and c) to elicit (+)-amphetamine-appropriate responding in rats trained to discriminate 1.0 mg/kg of (+)amphetamine from saline vehicle. S(-)Methcathinone was about twice as potent as S(+)amphetamine and three to five times more potent than R(+)methcathinone in the three pharmacologic assays. We conclude that both optical isomers possess central stimulant character, but that S(-)methcathinone is somewhat more potent than R(+)methcathinone.