Speaking and Teaching


Richard Dyer
As an advocate for recovery locally and nationally, Rick offers his unique combination of experience, strength and exuberance to groups of all kinds – addicts, those in recovery, professionals in the fields of law and addiction medicine, law enforcement, laypeople, and politicians.. He knows what it is like to be on both sides of the law and his unique story offers a compelling glimpse of the kind of transformation that can be accomplished in addiction recovery – by anyone with hope and support. He overcame his struggles with heroin addiction, homelessness and incarceration. He presently practices in the same court that he was sentenced in over eight times. Rick is a dynamic speaker on recovery issues and a representative of action and change. His motivating presentations are about recovery as a choice, transforming attitudes, and strength of self, family, and community. He has appeared on CBS News, and been featured in Parade Magazine, Lawyer’s Weekly, The MBA Law Journal, Northeastern University Law School’s magazine, SAMHSA’s publications, and BBC World Service’s program World Have Your Say. In 2014, Rick was appointed to the Massachusetts Governor’s Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention.

Courses, Workshops, and Teaching

In addition to speaking for groups, Rick offers a course he designed, for institutional settings such as law schools and Continuing Legal Education. The outline of the course is as follows:
With 80% of offenders abusing drugs and/or alcohol, nearly 50% of jail inmates clinically addicted and 60-80% of drug abusers committing a new crime after release from prison, the cases in District Court as well as Superior, Juvenile, and other courts are complicated by issues of substance use, abuse or addiction. Attorney Dyer will discuss his authored chapter: “Strategies for Diversion and Alternative Dispositions in Substance Use, Abuse and Addiction Cases” published in Lexis Nexis’ 2020&2021 Editions of Mass Criminal Law.

Strategies for zealously and effectively representing your clients within the bounds of the law with cases involving substance use, abuse and addiction from Pre-arrest to Post-conviction including Probation and Parole.

  • Collaboration
  • Use of existing diversion and alternative disposition strategies and creating your own with existing resources
  • Using SJC Standards on Substance Abuse
  • Drug Court
  • Relapse
  • Recidivism
  • Recovery coaches and social workers
  • How best to face the challenges of addiction recovery in our criminal justice system
  • Section 35 Commitments – voluntary and involuntary