Reward-related memory is an important factor in cocaine seeking. One necessary signaling mechanism for long-term memory formation is the activation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1), via poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation. We demonstrate herein that auto-poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of activated PARP-1 was significantly pronounced during retrieval of cocaine-associated contextual memory, in the central amygdala (CeA) of rats expressing cocaine-conditioned place preference (CPP). Intra-CeA pharmacological and short hairpin RNA depletion of PARP-1 activity during cocaine-associated memory retrieval abolished CPP. In contrast, PARP-1 inhibition after memory retrieval did not affect CPP reconsolidation process and subsequent retrievals. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing revealed that PARP-1 binding in the CeA is highly enriched in genes involved in neuronal signaling. We identified among PARP targets in CeA a single gene, yet uncharacterized and encoding a putative transposase inhibitor, at which PARP-1 enrichment markedly increases during cocaine-associated memory retrieval and positively correlates with CPP. Our findings have important implications for understanding drug-related behaviors, and suggest possible future therapeutic targets for drug abuse.