Jelly Roll Urges Action In Senate Testimony, Shares Personal Insights on Fentanyl Epidemic

““It is time for us to be proactive and not reactive,” he stated.

By

Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

January 11, 2024

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Jelly Roll; Photo Courtesy YouTube

Fans are flooding the internet with words of praise for country-rock sensation Jelly Roll, who appeared at the hearing of the Senate Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C. today, January 11. 

Why Did Jelly Roll Speak To Congress?

Sitting in front of the committee members, Jelly Roll delivered a powerful testimony in support of U.S. Senator Sherron Brown’s bipartisan Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, “a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill” which “aims to stop the flow of deadly fentanyl into Ohio communities by penalizing those that traffic in synthetic opioids.”

In the opening of his statement, Jelly Roll joked that this setting was a bit out of his comfort zone as he’s used to standing in front of a microphone with a full band behind him. He then took on a more serious tone as he noted that within the five minutes he was allotted to speak, “somebody in the United States will die of a drug overdose.” The “Need A Favor” singer added to his weighted statement saying, “it is almost a 72% chance that during those 5 minutes it will be fentanyl-related.”

See His Opening Statement

YouTube video

He then introduced himself by his full name, Jason DeFord, and offered nothing but honesty and sincerity in each of his carefully thought-out words. As a result of his time spent incarcerated in jail, Jelly Roll’s right to vote has been restricted, which he mentioned before saying that because of this, he has no political alliance and has had no interest in political races up until this point. 

A Powerful Testimony

“Ironically, I think that makes me the perfect person to speak about this because fentanyl transcends partisanship and ideology, gentlemen, and women. This is a totally different problem,” he said before presenting a series of relevant statistics.  

“190 people a day overdose and die every single day in the United States of America. That is about a 737 plane. That’s what about a 737 aircraft can carry. Could you imagine the national media attention it would get if they were reporting that a plane was crashing every single day and killing 190 people? But because it’s 190 drug addicts, we don’t feel that way – because America has been known to bully and shame drug addicts instead of dealing and trying to understand what the actual root of the problem is with that. But the sad news is that that narrative is changing, too, because the statistics say that in all likelihood, almost every person in this room has lost a friend or family member or colleague to the disease known as addiction.”

Throughout his thriving career, Jelly Roll has never shied away from speaking about his past and this situation was no different. In fact, he has elevated his voice to this stature so that he can do his part in being part of the solution to make up for his past when he was, as he admitted, “part of the problem.”

Jelly Roll may have gotten himself to a good and healthy place in his journey, however, he and many others are still greatly affected by the growing number of the national statistics each day. As a result, he is showing every ounce of support he has for this bill, which he “truly believes” will “help stop the supply of fentanyl.”

“It is time for us to be proactive and not reactive,” he stated with confidence. 

Urges Lawmakers To Pass Anti-Fentanyl Act

“Y’all are taking the first step. But I encourage you to take it outside of this room and you take it to your colleagues and your constituents, and you give them the most that you can…All I want to say is that I not only encourage y’all to do this, I encourage y’all to take it a step further.”

Jelly Roll; Photo Courtesy YouTube
Jelly Roll; Photo Courtesy YouTube

Jelly Roll wrapped up his statement by saying that his fans and the people who attend his shows each night are a big reason why he chose to attend today’s hearing because when standing on stages across the country, he has a front-row view to the impact his raw and authentic songs have on those who have been impacted by drugs in some capacity.

“These people crave reassurance that their elected officials actually care more about human life than they do about ideology and partisanship. I stand here as a regular member of society. I am a stupid songwriter, y’all, but I have firsthand witnessed this in a way most people have not. I encourage y’all to not only pass this bill, but I encourage you to bring it up where it matters at the kitchen table. Thank you for your time,” he said in conclusion. 

Country Stars Rally Around Jelly Roll To Showcase Their Support

After posting the video of his testimony to social media, many fans have taken to the comment section to commend the singer on using his platform to speak up and bring awareness to the ongoing issue. 

Some members of his community said they were “proud” of Jelly Roll while others praised him for being “so well spoken.”

According to a recent press release, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act has been “passed out of Committee with unanimous support and has gained over 67 Senate sponsors. To learn more, visit brown.senate.gov.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.