A leading drug charity has hit out at a British music publication's decision to name addict rocker Pete Doherty the Cool Icon of 2004.

The former Libertines frontman - who left the band after failing to kick his heroin and crack cocaine habits - has been awarded the title by rock weekly NME (NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS).

The magazine says Doherty and former bandmate Carl Barat embody "the notion of cool".

But charity ADDACTION are furious the NME is glamorising drug addiction, insisting, "Young people are vulnerable to hard drugs."

Policy manager REBECCA CHESHIRE adds, "The record industry does have a responsibility to promote healthy lifestyles.

"Not everyone has the ability to fall back on expensive rehabilitation programs like rock stars."

But NME spokesman ALEC MEER disagrees and insists Doherty's music earned him the title, "It has not been proved that rock stars who take drugs or embark upon antisocial behaviour influence their fans to do the same.

"We are rewarding Pete Doherty's creativity and skill, not the fact that he has taken drugs. He writes great music and is a great rock 'n' roll star."

25/11/2004 17:11