Newsday/News 12 investigation: Minorities more likely to get hit with serious drug charges

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Illegal drug use affects everyone on Long Island, but some say minorities are treated differently when it comes to drug arrests.

Investigative reporter Thomas Maier takes a look at this question in the last of our two-part Newsday/News 12 Long Island report, "Unequal Justice."

Michael Abraham and Danielle McNerney both have a history of using hard drugs, and both were arrested multiple times by Suffolk police. However, that's where the similarity ends.

MORE: Newsday Coverage - Entire Series

In 2015, McNerney was pulled over and charged with possessing heroin, but instead of going to jail, McNerney was offered a year of rehab supervised by Suffolk's Drug Court. 

On the other hand, Abraham says he was not offered a rehab program. Instead, he got probation for one drug possession charge and later wound up in jail for another.  

Is race a silent factor when drug cases are tried in Long Island courtrooms?

A Newsday/News Long Island study shows that when it comes to illegal drug possession on Long Island, more blacks and Hispanics wind up with serious charges than whites. In fact, over the past decade, two thirds of all felony drug possession charges involved minorities. 

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