Musical Artist Jelly Roll Testifies Before Senate About Fentanyl, His Own Climb Out of Dealing Drugs

By Nancy Flory Published on January 17, 2024

“I was a part of the problem. I am here now, standing as a man that wants to be a part of the solution.”

Musical artist Jason DeFord, or Jelly Roll, as his mom nicknamed him, grew up among drug addicts and alcoholics. As a young man, he began making and dealing drugs, believing it was a victimless crime. The former rapper-turned-country music artist even spent a stint in the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville, Tenn.

Now he’s a husband and father on a much better path — but history repeats itself, he told the Senate in his testimony last week on the fentanyl crisis. His teenager’s mother is a drug addict — and he wonders each day if he will have to tell his daughter that her mother became a statistic from drugs.

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His latest song, “She,” is about a woman struggling with a fentanyl addiction. His first breakthrough hit was “Pop Another Pill.” He’s come a long way. “It shows what God can do, what you can’t,” he told CBS News. “It shows how much change can happen in your life.”

“It is time for us to be proactive and not reactive,” he told enthralled members of the Senate. “We were reactive with crack, we were reactive with opioids, and ya’ll are taking the first step at somebody in the Senate finally being proactive. I truly believe in my heart that this bill [Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act ], that this bill will stop the supply and can help stop the supply of fentanyl, but in part of being proactive gentlemen and women, ladies, I have to be frank and tell ya’ll 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. Ya’ll are taking the first step, but I encourage you to take it outside of this room. You take it to your colleagues and your constituents and you give them the most that you can.”

Watch Jelly Roll’s gripping opening statement: 


Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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