The genre-bending country artist, real name Jason DeFord, has often spoken out about his struggles with addiction. He discussed the topic in the 2023 Hulu documentary Jelly Roll: Save Me
He also spent time in prison for a federal drug dealing offense, which means his voting rights have been restricted.
"I have no political alliance. I am neither Democrat nor Republican," he said. "I have never paid attention to a political race in my life… Ironically, I think that makes me the perfect person to speak about this because fentanyl transcends partisanship and ideology."
Jelly Roll's five minute testimony was packed with stunning statistics and shocking personal anecdotes.
"During the time I’ve been given to share my testimony… somebody in the United States will die of a drug overdose," he said.
There's a 72% chance that fatality will be fentanyl related, the singer added.
The Nashville native said opiates have had a devastating impact on the community he grew up in.
"I’ve attended more funerals than I’d care to share with y’all," he 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."
Jelly Roll wants to be part of the solution after he contributed to the crisis in his younger years.
"I brought my community down. I hurt people," the musician said of his dealing. "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, mixing every drug on the market with fentanyl, and they’re killing the people we love."
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) invited Jelly Roll to testify in front of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which the politician chairs.
Both support the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, which has bipartisan support.
The legislation is described as a "sanctions and anti-money laundering bill to help combat the country’s fentanyl crisis by targeting opioid traffickers devastating America’s communities," on the committee's website.
"The bill will enhance current law so U.S. government agencies can more effectively disrupt illicit opioid supply chains and penalize those facilitating the trafficking of fentanyl," the description says.
"The bill also ensures that sanctions are imposed not only on the illicit drug trade, but also on the money laundering that makes it profitable."
Jelly Roll spoke about the impact fentanyl has had on his family, as well.
"I have a 15-year-old daughter whose mother is a drug addict," he said. "Every day I get to look in the eyes of a victim in my household of the effects of drugs, every single day. And every single day I have to wonder… if today will be the day that I have to tell my daughter that her mother became a part of the national statistic."
The musician's latest LP Whitsitt Chapel made it to the No. 3 spot on the Billboard 200 after it was released in June. It's a country album, but also has prominent hip–hop, rock and gospel influences.
Jelly Roll's testimony followed his appearance on last year edition of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest.