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Jelly Roll Urges Congress to Pass an Anti-Fentanyl Bill

Jelly Roll Urges Congress to Pass an Anti-Fentanyl Bill

Grammy-nominated singer Jason DeFord, who goes by the stage name “Jelly Roll,” spoke in front of Congress on Thursday, urging lawmakers to pass anti-fentanyl legislation and sharing his personal history with substance abuse in an effort to help save lives.

“I was a part of the problem,” DeFord said in his opening remarks. “I am here now, standing as a man that wants to be a part of the solution.”

DeFord testified in front of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs as Sen. Tim Scott continued to push for the passage of his bill, the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act.

“I brought my community down,” DeFrord said. “I hurt people. I was the uneducated man in the kitchen playing chemist with drugs I knew absolutely nothing about, just like these drug dealers are doing right now when they’re mixing every drug on the market with fentanyl and they’re killing the people we love.

“I’ve attended more funerals than I care to share with y’all,” he continued. “I could sit here and cry for days about the caskets I’ve carried of people I love dearly, deeply in my soul. Good people, not just drug addicts. Uncles, friends, cousins, normal people.”

This isn’t the first time the rapper-turned-country singer has opened up about his drug history. In the Hulu documentary Save Me, DeFord spoke openly about his struggle with addiction and experience dealing drugs. He also shared that he had lost his right to vote and had difficulty buying a house due to his criminal record.

In addition to DeFord, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Patrick Yoes, and former DEA agent Christopher J. Urben also testified in front of the committee.

The FEND Off Fentanyl Act was unanimously passed by the Senate Banking Committee last June but was blocked from being included in the National Defense Authorization Act, along with other financial legislation, by last December in an effort to include Rep. Patrick McHenry’s cryptocurrency legislation, which also did not make it into the final version of the act.

DeFord, who is now sober, is an outspoken advocate for drug rehabilitation centers and supports them by performing charity shows and local jails and rehab facilities while on tour.

But, as he closed in his testimony, addiction still impacts his life today. He shared that his teenage daughter’s mother still struggles with drug addiction.

“Every single day, I have to wonder if me and my wife, if today will be the day that I have to tell my daughter that her mother became a part of the national statistic,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 110,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2022  The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that six out of 10 fentanyl-laced fake pills contain a fatal dose of fentanyl.

Lawmakers will continue to discuss the bill, although there has been no forward movement in the House nor any reports regarding the bill’s future.

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