Set in the year 2000, DANTE IN JIFFY LUBE dramatizes the true story of how a drug company combined Oxycodone with a newly patented drug, Contin; and drove it backed with massive incentives, promotional items and Congressional backing into the medical world, starting a decade of “pain relief” which turned into a street addiction nightmare.

DANTE IN JIFFY LUBE is the modern-day journey of a psychotic man (ERNIE) who imagines himself to be Dante Alegheri. ERNIE/DANTE makes his way through a hidden world most of us never experience - psychiatric hospitalization. ERNIE/DANTE travels over a modern, scientific moral terrain armed with poetry and helps us probe our assumptions about healing, sin, redemption, opioids, corporate greed, and poetry.

Between the poetic and the economic comes a third character whom the delusional ERNIE/DANTE sees as JOAN OF ARC, representing human kindness.

All this takes place in our contemporary society which has given up on genuine healing in favor of “Jiffy Lube” medicine where pharmacology and incentive-driven opioid sales are used to get patients functional, or at least “happy” and “back on the road of life.”

It is reported that some 70,000 people die each year from overdose of prescription opioids.


(written in the 1500s) is the journey of Dante, accompanied by the poet Virgil, through three realms Purgatory, The Inferno and Paradise. In this journey, Dante witnesses assorted horrors, punishments, and challenges before arriving in Paradise.

Carla (Nurse Turner) Head Psychiatric Nurse – 30’s, top of the game as far as psych nursing goes. Ernie / Dante Ernie (60’s) is a chronic, long-term, delusional psychiatric patient. His main delusion is that he is Dante Alighieri and is on a journey through Purgatory, the Inferno and Paradise. Ken Cominsky 20’s, A pharmaceutical rep, he is crisp and “buttoned-down” in demeanor. Carries a fancy Coach samples case. Joan 60’s. A former, chronic patient (“frequent flyer”) who now makes comforters to give free to patients in order for them to know that someone cares. She also runs a “life-sharing” program from her home.
Jean W. Yeager