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DEA agent featured in new attack ad by Bredesen campaign against Blackburn

Jim Geldhof's whole career is focused on fighting the war on drugs.

A disappointed DEA agent speaks his mind in a new attack ad from U.S. Senate Candidate Phil Bredesen.

The DEA agent says one bill that passed required his department to meet a higher threshold of proof before they could go after companies shipping out suspiciously high amounts of pills.

He says Marsha Blackburn not only voted for it, but sponsored it.

Jim Geldhof's whole career was focused on fighting the war on drugs. He retired from the DEA a couple years ago.

But he says the bill, sponsored by Blackburn, took away some of the power of his agency.

"I can't tell you 10 people died or didn't, but I can tell you that action that we took against drug companies saved lives and inaction cost lives. And there was inaction that could have been done that absolutely cost lives."

For grieving families, that's hard to hear.

Wendy Cronon lost her son Erik this spring.

"He passed away from a drug overdose," she said. "It's been a rough six months."

Now, when she sees political ads involving the issue, her ears perk up and her heart sinks yet again.

"I think it certainly needs to be discussed," says Cronon.

In this attack ad, Phil Bredesen says Marsha Blackburn took hundreds of thousands of dollars from big drug companies, before voting for a bill that was detrimental to public health.

"I'm sure that she was lobbied very hard and decided to make her vote the way she did," Geldhof said. "But, nobody can tell me she didn't know the outcome."

But, Blackburn defended herself in a debate last month.

"What he just said was false. The bill was voted on passed unanimously by both the house and senate," Blackburn said.

Blackburn's not the only politician receiving money from big pharma.

According to opensecrets.org almost every candidate running in the upcoming elections is.

Some, are taking more than others though.

The site shows Blackburn accepted more than $180,000 this campaign season.

Bredesen received around $25,000.

That's why Wendy says it's hard to know who to believe when it comes to these ads.

"They're going to do that back and forth as they always do," she said.

Early voting for Tennessee begins October 17th and runs through November 1st.

Election Day is November 6th.

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