The South African government and NGOs appear to be losing the war against substance abuse. It is therefore pertinent to mobilise other players such as the private sector to complement the government in the battle against substance abuse. Therefore, this study sought to assesses the contribution of selected business entities in the fight against substance abuse in the city of East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The study endeavoured to achieve the following four objectives: (i) to explore the policy environment informing the fight against substance abuse in South Africa, (ii) to document types of substances abused in the city of East London in Eastern Cape, (iii) to determine the magnitude of support that selected business entities inject in the campaign against substances in East London, and (iv) to establish the working synergy between selected business entities and government entities in the fight against substance abuse in the city of East London, Eastern Cape. A number of theories, inclusive of the comprehensive theory of substance abuse prevention, functionalist perspective, social learning theory and the corporate social responsibility model, informed the study. Methodologically, study phenomena were investigated through parallel mixed methods in which both qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analysed separately. The study adopted both case study and mini survey designs. Qualitatively, the data were collected through in-depth one-on-one interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The study purposively selected thirty-two (32) participants while one hundred and twenty-nine (129) respondents were selected through the cluster random sampling technique. Quantitatively, questionnaires were administered to the respondents. Qualitative data were analysed thematically, whereas quantitative data were analysed statistically using the SPSS software version 25. The study revealed poor policy implementation by business entities against substance abuse, weak policy nexus with national policies and weak substance abuse screening and testing. In addition, the study established that counselling activities against substance abuse and disciplinary measures against employees abusing substance abuse were inadequate. Weak community dialogue against substances, preponderance of alcohol abuse in the workplace among employees and abuse of Methamphetamine (“tik”) and nyaope (whoonga) increased crime in East London. Furthermore, marijuana/dagga (cannabis) remains a widely abused drug. The study also indicated that campaign synergy between government and business entities is weak. These findings were supported by separate statistical findings. In line with the findings, the study recommends strengthening policy implementation of business entities against substance abuse. Business entities need to support communities in the fight against substance abuse, and the government needs to facilitate a working synergy with business entities for effective fight against substance abuse. This study concludes that business entities need to align their policies with national anti-substance abuse policies and government needs to facilitate partnership with business entities to achieve the war against substance abuse.
Dr Samkelo Bala