Advances in our ability to modify the mouse genome have enhanced our understanding of the genetic and neurobiological mechanisms contributing to addiction-related behaviors underlying substance use and abuse. These experimentally induced manipulations permit greater spatial and temporal specificity for modification of gene expression within specific cellular populations and during select developmental time periods. In this review, we consider the current mouse genetic model systems that have been employed to understand aspects of addiction and highlight significant conceptual advances achieved related to substance use and abuse. The mouse models reviewed herein include conventional knock-out and knock-in, conditional knockout, transgenic, inducible transgenic, mice suitable for optogenetic control of discrete neuronal populations, and phenotype-selected mice. By establishing a reciprocal investigatory relationship between genetic findings in humans and genomic manipulations in mice, a far better understanding of the discrete neuromechanisms underlying addiction can be achieved, which is likely to provide a strong foundation for developing and validating novel therapeutics for the treatment of substance abuse disorders.