Buccoadhesive controlled-release systems for the delivery of morphine sulfate were prepared by compression of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) with carbomer (CP), which served as the bioactive adhesive compound. The release behavior of systems containing 30 mg of morphine sulfate and various amounts of the two polymers was found to be non-Fickian. The adhesion force was significantly affected by the mixing ratio of HPMC and CP in the tablet, and the weakest adhesion force was observed at a ratio of 1:1 (HPMC:CP). Interpolymer complex formation was confirmed between HPMC and CP in acidic medium by turbidity, viscosity, and FT-IR measurements. The amount absorbed (percentage of the drug loaded) of the controlled-release buccoadhesive tablets in six healthy volunteers and was 30 ± 5%. © 1994, Plenum Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.