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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 November, 2004, 13:08 GMT
'Cool' Doherty angers drug group
Pete Doherty
Doherty left The Libertines following high-profile drug problems
A drugs charity has accused magazine NME of behaving irresponsibly by naming singer Pete Doherty, who has battled drug addiction, its Cool Icon of 2004.

The NME says Doherty, who sang in rock band The Libertines, and ex-bandmate Carl Barat embody "the notion of cool".

Drugs charity Addaction feared this would influence readers, saying: "Young people are vulnerable to hard drugs."

But the magazine's assistant editor Malik Meer said it was Doherty's talent which earned him the title.

Jail sentence

The Libertines topped the UK chart in September with their second, self-titled, album on which Doherty played.

On the week of its release Doherty received a suspended four month jail sentence after admitting possession of a flick knife.

In 2003 he served two months in jail after being found guilty of burglary at ex-bandmate Carl Barat's home. Doherty now has his own band, Babyshambles.

Not everyone has the ability to fall back on expensive rehabilitation programmes like rock stars
Rebecca Cheshire, Addaction
Addaction said the consumption of crack cocaine and heroin is rising among young people, fuelled by cheap street prices.

"The record industry does have a responsibility to promote healthy lifestyles," policy manager Rebecca Cheshire told The Times newspaper.

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

But the NME's Malik Meer was not convinced that fans of Doherty would be inspired to take drugs.

Carl Barat and Pete Doherty
Doherty (right) was jailed for a burglary at Barat's home (left)
"It has not been proved that rock stars who take drugs or embark upon antisocial behaviour influence their fans to do the same," he said.

"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."

Meer said The Streets' Mike Skinner, ranked in second place in the NME Cool List, is also respected for his music rather than the drug-taking he details in his songs.

"While this list was compiled by staff, we are confident that it reflects the taste of our readers."

The Libertines top albums chart
05 Sep 04 |  Entertainment
Ex-Libertine escapes prison term
01 Sep 04 |  Entertainment
Britain's brightest rock hopes?
10 Jun 04 |  Entertainment
Jail threat for ex-Libertines man
17 Aug 04 |  Entertainment
Libertines star pleads not guilty
30 Jun 04 |  Entertainment


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