Jelly Roll Addresses Lawmakers About His Personal History With Fentanyl
Jelly Roll made a stop in Washington, D.C., on Thursday (Jan. 11), where he offered testimony on his experiences with the opioid epidemic in front of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Turning his time at the podium, Jelly urged Congress to pass the Fentaynyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, which committee chair Sherrod Brown ( an Ohio Democrat) introduced alongside South Carolina Republican Tim Scott.
According to a press release on the Senate's website, the bipartisan bill would "enhance current law so U.S. government agencies can more effectively disrupt illicit opioid supply chains and penalize those facilitating the trafficking of fentanyl."
Most of Jelly's fans already know that he has a history of selling drugs and has served prison time on drug-related charges, and also that multiple people he is close to have died from or grappled with substance abuse.
"I've attended more funerals than I care to share with y'all," the singer said. "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."
He also spoke to his time as a drug dealer.
"I was a part of the problem. I am here now standing as a man that wants to be a part of the solution," Jelly stated. "... 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 believed, when I sold drugs, genuinely, that selling drugs was a victimless crime," he continued. "I truly believed that, y'all."
As he spoke before the committee, Jelly made it a point to state that he has "no political alliance," and that in fact, his felony charges have kept him from ever being able to participate in elections.
"Thusfore I have never paid attention to a political race in my life," he noted. However, he made a powerful case that the fentanyl crisis goes beyond political lines. In fact, for Jelly and his family, it hits close to home.
"Now I have a 15-year-old daughter whose mother is a drug addict. Every day I get to look in the eyes of a victim in my household," he relates. "... And every single day I have to wonder, me and my wife, if today will be the day I have to tell my daughter that her mother became a part of the national statistic."
Jelly has previously been open his daughter Bailee's mother, Felicia, who even appeared on an episode of his wife Bunnie Xo's Dumb Blonde podcast to discuss her experience with addiction, parenthood and recovery. In 2020, Jelly celebrated Felicia's recovery from addiction with a Facebook post; from his testimony, it can be surmised that she has since relapsed.
He concluded his speech with a reminder of who he's representing: The people he sees at his shows every night, many of whom have been affected by addiction.
"These people crave reassurance that their elected officials actually care more about human life than they do about ideology and partisanship," he said. "I stand here as a regular member of society. I am a stupid songwriter, y'all. But I have first-hand witnessed this in a way most people have not. I encourage you to not only pass this bill but I encourage you to bring it up where it matters: At the kitchen table."
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Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes