January 12, 2024

Here’s What They’re Saying: National and Local Media Reactions to Jelly Roll’s Powerful Testimony in Support of FEND Off Fentanyl Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, at a hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee chaired by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), artist and philanthropist Jason “Jelly Roll” DeFord delivered powerful testimony in support of Brown’s bipartisan Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act.

Read what they’re saying about Jelly Roll’s testimony and Brown’s bipartisan FEND OFF Fentanyl Act:

Cleveland.com: Singer Jelly Roll urges fentanyl crackdown at Senate hearing chaired by Sherrod Brown

  • “‘The sad news is that narrative is changing, too, because the statistics say that in all likelihood almost every person in this room has lost a friend, family member of colleague to the disease known as addiction,’ DeFord told the committee chaired by Cleveland Democrat Sherrod Brown. ‘I could sit here and cry for days about the caskets I’ve carried of people I love dearly.’”
  • “He urged Congress to pass a bill introduced by Brown that aims to use financial sanctions to cut off the flow of drugs. The Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act that Brown introduced with the committee’s top Republican, South Carolina’s Tim Scott, would direct the Treasury Department to target, sanction, and block the financial assets of transnational criminal organizations, and those that launder money to facilitate illicit opioid trafficking. The Senate passed the bill but the U.S. House of Representatives hasn’t taken it up.”
  • “Brown urged Congress to pass his fentanyl bill, as well as separate legislation that establishes penalties for making or distributing xylazine for illicit use, and another bill called the POWER act that would provide state and local law enforcement with high-tech, portable fentanyl screening devices. He also said the Treasury Department needs to hold the governments of China and Mexico accountable for curbing the fentanyl flow.”

CBS News: Jelly Roll urges Congress to pass anti-fentanyl trafficking legislation: "It is time for us to be proactive"

  • “The musician, whose real name is Jason DeFord, testified before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, chaired by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Roll urged Congress to pass Brown's Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, which would wield financial sanctions against drug traffickers to disrupt the flow of opioids coming in from China and Mexico.”
  • “‘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,’ [Jelly Roll] said. ‘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.’”
  • “Roll, noting that the crisis has affected many of his friends and family members, asked Congress to pass the FEND OFF Act before it is too late.”

WKBN (Youngstown): Country music star ‘Jelly Roll’ backing Ohio senator’s efforts to control fentanyl supply

  • “Brown is pushing for a new bill that goes after the fentanyl supply coming out of Mexico and China. DeFord said he was a part of the problem, and now he wants to be part of the solution.”
  • “‘I brought my community down. I hurt people. I was the uneducated man playing chemist in the kitchen with drugs I knew nothing about. Just like these drug dealers are going right now when they are mixing every drug on the market with fentanyl, and they’re killing the people we love,’ he said.”

Roll Call: Jelly Roll was once a drug dealer. Now he’s pushing Congress to pass an anti-fentanyl bill

  • “[Jelly Roll’s] trip to Capitol Hill came in support of a bipartisan bill that would help law enforcement go after money laundering operations that underpin international opioid trafficking. Driven by the potency and ubiquity of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, drug deaths have exploded in recent years, topping more than 100,000 in 2022.”
  • “As DeFord spoke on behalf of the often-vilified addicts, the Fraternal Order of Police’s national president, Patrick Yoes, provided the local cop’s perspective on the front lines of the fentanyl crisis. ‘We work to stem the flow of fentanyl in our communities, to capture and punish those who deal with drugs to save the lives of those who overdose, Yoes said. And when tragedy strikes, we deliver the news to the families of their loved one that was killed by this poison.’”

The Hill: Jelly Roll urges Congress to pass anti-fentanyl legislation

  • “‘I’m guessing most of you didn’t have ‘Jelly Roll testifies at Senate Banking Committee’ on your ’24 bingo card,’ committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said. But few speak and sing as eloquently, as openly, as shall we say viscerally about addiction as Mr. DeFord,’ he continued. ‘There’s a reason why Americans flock to his music and his concerts. He has a connection with people based on shared pain, shared challenges, shared hope.’”
  • “‘I think it’s important for me to tell you all that I’m not here to defend the use of illegal drugs, and I also understand the paradox of my history as a drug dealer standing in front of this committee,’ DeFord said.”
  • “‘I stand here as a regular member of society,’ DeFord later added. ‘I am a stupid songwriter, y’all, but I have firsthand witnessed this in a way most people have not. I encourage you all to not only pass this bill, but I encourage you to bring it up where it matters, at the kitchen table.’”

Nextstar: Jelly Roll on Capitol Hill for Senate hearing on fentanyl

  • “Lawmakers held the hearing to raise awareness about legislative solutions to stop illegal smuggling of the opioid.”
  • “Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) who chairs the committee pledged his commitment to finding solutions saying, ‘A crisis this massive, this multi-faceted demands our sustained focus.’
  • “Jelly Roll says he is here to testify before a Senate panel to “get people to care” about the fentanyl crisis.”