By MEG KINNARD
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina officials are taking a new approach to combat prescription drug abuse in the state. Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton said Tuesday that her agency is now requiring pharmacists to report all prescription drug distribution within 24 hours instead of monthly.
Templeton says that will help officials more quickly identify people who might be doing things like filling the same prescription in multiple counties.
Frank O'Neal of the State Law Enforcement Division said his agency will have an agent working directly with DHEC and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to process information from a database detailing pharmacists' prescriptions.
In 2011, DHEC says South Carolina ranked 23rd highest per capita in overdose deaths from prescription medication.
Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.