The diagnosis of pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis was made in seven narcotic addicts between 1967 and 1972. Vertebrae involved were either cervical or lumbar. Bacteriologic diagnosis was made in each case by percutaneous needle biopsy and aspiration. Staphylococcus aureus was cultured in two patients. Five patients had infections due to Gram-negative bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter. All patients were cured by treatment with antibiotics and immobilization.