Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.
The country music artist spoke before lawmakers during a hearing on Thursday regarding the FEND Off Fentanyl Act.
Jelly Roll is actively calling on lawmakers to address the fentanyl epidemic. The 39-year-old country music star made a compelling appearance before Congress on Thursday, urging legislators to pass a bill aimed at combating the supply and distribution of the synthetic opioid in the United States.
Participating in the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, the singer-songwriter, also known as Jason DeFord, spoke passionately about the issue, drawing on his firsthand experience to emphasize the gravity of the situation.
“At every concert I perform, I witness the heartbreaking impact of fentanyl. Fans at my shows are grappling with this tragedy through music, seeking solace and hoping that their experiences won’t befall others,” shared Jelly Roll, who has openly discussed his past struggles with addiction and arrests for drug-related charges.
Speaking passionately, he continued, “These are the people I’m here to speak for, y’all. These people crave reassurance that their elected officials genuinely care more about human life than ideology and partisanship.”
The Grammy-nominated artist, who clarified his non-affiliation with any political party due to a felony conviction leading to the revocation of his voting rights, pointed to alarming statistics highlighting the prevalence of fentanyl-related deaths. He then opened up about the personal impact of the drug on his own life.
“I’ve attended more funerals than I care to share with you all [on] this committee,” revealed the “Son of a Sinner” singer. “I could sit here and cry for days about the caskets I’ve carried of people I loved dearly, deeply in my soul—good people, not just drug addicts. Uncles, friends, cousins, normal people, some people that just got in a car wreck and started taking a pain pill to manage it. One thing led to the other and how fast it spirals out of control—I don’t think people truly, truly understand.”
Continuing, Jelly Roll stressed the importance of enacting legislation, drawing on his own past experiences and sharing that his 15-year-old daughter Bailee Ann’s biological mother continues to struggle with addiction. “I was a part of the problem,” the musician admitted. “I am here now standing as a man that wants to be a part of the solution.”
In his address, the singer-songwriter drew parallels with past epidemics like crack cocaine and oxycontin, urging the Senate to be proactive rather than reactive and emphasizing the immediate need to pass the FEND Off Fentanyl Act.
“I have to be frank and tell you all that if we don’t talk to the other side of Capitol Hill and stop the demand, we are going to spin our tires in the mud,” warned the “Save Me” singer.
In his concluding remarks, he stated, “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.”
After the hearing, the accomplished artist took to Instagram to share footage of his speech. In the caption, he expressed gratitude, saying, “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.”
Turning to music as a cathartic outlet, Jelly Roll has risen as a prominent country star while openly discussing the hurdles he has overcome to serve as an inspiration and a devoted family man. With his wife Bunnie XO, he is raising his daughter Bailee Ann, and he is also a father to his son Noah, 7, from a previous relationship.
Jelly Roll has consistently emphasized using his platform to help others, often visiting juvenile detention centers and various facilities. In a December 2023 interview with PEOPLE, he explained why giving back remains a priority, even amid his breakthrough success. He stated, “I always said that if I ever got in this situation, I would do everything I could to give back. The fact that just me showing up places can make people happy is such a gift, and I feel like if God gave me that gift, I should show up.”