[Excerpt from WTNH TV]

NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a new “Judge” in the fight against the opioid crisis in Naugatuck: the town’s new police K-9. On Friday, Judge and his handler, Officer Jake Pinho, completed state police training for specialized drug detection.

Judge and Officer Pinho Judge graduated as the top police dog in the state and now his skills will be put to use on the streets of Naugatuck, becoming part of the plan to snuff out opiates and drugs at crime scenes. [....]

The Valley Community Foundation reports the crisis has also hit the overall Naugatuck Valley region. “One-third of Valley residents know someone who has either misused heroin or an opiate,” said Valerie Knight-Digangi, of the foundation. [data from the 2018 DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey] [....]

According to The Valley Community Foundation, between 2015 and 2018, the rate of opioid-related deaths in the Naugatuck Valley was 28.8 per 100,000 residents. That’s above the statewide average of 22.8. Those statistics [from the 2019 Valley Community Index] are why the foundation approved of Naugatuck’s effort to enlist their top dog in this battle.