Drug addiction shares brain mechanisms and molecular substrates with learning and memory processes, such as the stimulation of glutamate receptors and their downstream signalling pathways. In the present work we provide an up-to-date review of studies that have demonstrated the implication of the main memory-related calcium-dependent protein kinases in opiate and cocaine addiction. The effects of these drugs of abuse in different animal models of drug reward, dependence and addiction are altered by manipulation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family, particularly extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK), calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), the protein kinase C (PKC) family (including PKMζ), cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA), cGMP-dependent protein kinase G (PKG), the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway and its downstream target mammalian target of Rapamycin (mTOR), cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5), heat-shock proteins (Hsp) and other enzymes and proteins. Research suggests that drugs of abuse induce dependence and addiction by modifying the signalling pathways that involve these memory-related protein kinases, and supports the idea that drug addiction is an excessive aberrant learning disorder in which the maladaptive memory of drug-associated cues maintains compulsive drug use and contributes to relapse. Moreover, the studies we review offer new pharmacological strategies to treat opiate and cocaine dependence based on the manipulation of these protein kinases. In particular, disruption of reconsolidation of drug-related memories may have a high therapeutic value in the treatment of drug addiction.