Editors of British magazine NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS (NME) have been accused of glamorising drug abuse by naming troubled cocaine and heroin addict PETE DOHERTY its "Cool Icon" of 2004.

Drugs charities ADDACTION and DRUGSCOPE are furious the influential publication chose Doherty, who was thrown out of rock band The Libertines for failing to combat the addiction and for breaking into the band's co-founder Carl Barat's house last year (03) to steal possessions to sell for drugs.

But NME's deputy editor ALEX NEEDHAM insists, "It is not a heroin addiction which makes Pete Doherty the coolest. He is a very talented musician who has become a modern day minstrel.

"There is a parallel with Kurt Cobain but NME does not endorse drug abuse. Readers can see it has caused the disintegration of a great band like The Libertines."

Addaction's policy manager REBECCA CHESHIRE counters, "Young people are vulnerable to hard drugs and not everyone has the ability to afford expensive rehabilitation programmes like rock stars."

24/11/2004 02:27