"The number one problem in the state of Mississippi is the illegal distribution of drugs. The number one problem," said Frank Melton to students at Heidelberg High School Wednesday.
And he should know. As executive director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Melton has made it a point to visit school after school, reminding the state's youth of the dangers they face.
"When I leave this school today I will have talked to 20,000 kids through our Safe Schools program," Melton said. "On the enforcement side, we've had to put over 7,000 Mississippians in jail for the illegal distribution of narcotics."
Some consider Melton's methods controversial. The former television executive, hired for his management skills rather than law enforcement background, Melton still gets personally involved in busts and random checks at high schools.
Melton declined to comment on the scrutiny placed on him. He was appointed by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, who is in a heated battle for reelection.
"I don't do politics, race or influences, so I can't comment on that," said Melton.
What he does do is try to inspire, and in some cases, force people to make better decisions. That's why Heidleberg High School invited him to their Red Ribbon Week observance.
"He's an inspiration to old young and in between," said Vernell Lofton, coordinator of Frontline. "So rather than bringing someone just capable, we went all the way to the top."