COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WVOC) - Officials are taking a new approach to combat prescription drug abuse in the state.

Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine Templeton says her agency will require 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.

The State Law Enforcement Division 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 medications.