Locomotion and cue-dependent behaviors are modified through corticostriatal signaling whereby short-term increases in dopamine availability can provoke persistent changes in glutamate release that contribute to neuropsychiatric disorders, including Parkinson's disease and drug dependence. We found that withdrawal of mice from repeated amphetamine treatment caused a chronic presynaptic depression (CPD) in glutamate release that was most pronounced in corticostriatal terminals with a low probability of release and lasted >50 d in treated mice. An amphetamine challenge reversed CPD via a dopamine D1-receptor-dependent paradoxical presynaptic potentiation (PPP) that increased corticostriatal activity in direct pathway medium spiny neurons. This PPP was correlated with locomotor responses after a drug challenge, suggesting that it may underlie the sensitization process. Experiments in brain slices and in vivo indicated that dopamine regulation of acetylcholine release from tonically active interneurons contributes to CPD, PPP, locomotor sensitization, and cognitive ability. Therefore, a chronic decrease in corticostriatal activity during withdrawal is regulated around a new physiological range by tonically active interneurons and returns to normal upon reexposure to amphetamine, suggesting that this paradoxical return of striatal activity to a more stable, normalized state may represent an additional source of drug motivation during abstinence.