The Saskatchewan government hopes to prevent suicides by collecting unused and expired medication.

The Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan launched a public awareness campaign on Friday encouraging people to return extra meds to local pharmacies. The province is providing $350,000 toward the program.

Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said the province is happy to support the Pharmacy Association in the campaign.

"Developing a provincial safe medication disposal program is an important part of our suicide prevention plan, as removing unused prescription drugs limits access to a means of suicide."

The province said in a release that programs across Canada for people to return unused medication have been effective in removing the drugs from homes, reducing the potential for others to intentionally or unintentionally consume them.

"Pharmacists play a vital role in counselling patients on the use of medications, and they are located in more than 125 communities right across the province, so it makes sense that these medications be taken back to pharmacies for safe disposal," said Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan CEO Michael Fougere.

You can bring any unused medication to pharmacists. They ask you to scratch out any patient identification on the bottles and return all medication in a clear plastic bag.

The pharmacists will place the meds in special medication-disposal boxes, which they regularly destroy.

The campaign will include messaging on radio and newspaper ads, along with billboards.