For the first time in years prescriptions for narcotic painkillers in the U.S. did not increase last year. Data provided to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shows that prescriptions for opioids flattened to 241 million in 2012, down slightly from 243 million in 2011. That was the first time since 2006 that prescriptions of opioids did not increase, according to data provided by IMS Health, a drug market research firm. “I think we are turning a corner,” said Prof. G. Caleb Alexander of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “This may herald further changes to come.” The Centers for Disease Control says 16,651 people died of an overdose involving a prescription opioid in 2010 In 1999, there were 4,030 such deaths. In addition to the overdose deaths, there were 425,000 emergency department visits for misuse or abuse of opioids, including overdoses, up from 166,338 in 2004.