Jason DeFord, aka Jelly Roll, testified to the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, January 11, 2024, to advocate for victims of drug addiction. Jelly Roll gives powerful testimony to Congress on fentanyl: 'I was part of the problem' Jelly Roll told lawmakers he is just a 'stupid songwriter,' but has firsthand experience with the fentanyl epidemic.
Jelly Roll spent part of his Thursday testifying in front of a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C.
Identified on CSpan as "artist and philanthropist Jason 'Jelly Roll' DeFord,'" he appeared before a hearing about the fentanyl epidemic and urged lawmakers to adopt legislation limiting the distribution of the synthetic opioid.
He told the Senate Banking Committee, "At every concert I perform, I witness the heartbreaking impact of fentanyl. I see fans grappling with this tragedy in the form of music, that they seek solace in music and hope that their experiences won't befall others. These people crave reassurance that their elected officials actually care more about human life than they do about ideology and partisanship."
Jelly Roll served time in prison for aggravated robbery and possession with the intent to sell, and he told the committee, "I think it's important for me to tell you all that I'm not here to defend the use of illegal drugs, and I also understand the paradox of my history as a drug dealer standing in front of this committee. But equally, I think that's what makes me perfect to talk about this. I was a part of the problem. I am here now, standing as a man that wants to be a part of the solution."
The committee Jelly Roll spoke in front of introduced the FEND Off Fentanyl Act in April 2023, which passed the full Senate in July but hasn't made it out of the House. The act aims to "impose sanctions on foreign persons involved in fentanyl trafficking and codify existing sanctions targeting illicit drug trafficking."
In an Instagram post after his appearance, Jelly Roll wrote, "Thank you to the Chairman Senator Brown and Senator Scott for allowing me to speak on behalf of the broken in today's hearing. I pray this message is the beginning of a real change and awareness when it comes to Fentanyl and drug addiction in America."
This is the most profound honest heartbreaking 6 minutes of testimony ever. I just hope somebody is listening and hearing you. Thank You Jelly Roll.