For the 3GPP LTE uplink transmissions, the DFTspread OFDM technique has been adopted as the air interface in order to reduce the peak-to-average-power ratio (PAPR). In this scheme, each data symbol is spread over many tones by a discrete Fourier transform (DFT) operation at the transmitter before being sent to the orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) modulator. Moreover, more than one user can be scheduled over the same frequency and time resource block (RB) via space-division multiple-access (SDMA). The conventional receiver technique for such DFT-spread OFDM systems involves tone-by-tone single-tap equalization followed by an inverse DFT operation. In this paper, we propose a more powerful receiver technique for DFT-spread OFDM systems that consists of an efficient linear pre-filter and a two-symbol soft output demodulator. The proposed method can be applied to both single-user per RB (DFT-S-OFDMA) and multiple users per RB (DFT-S-OFDMSDMA) systems and it offers significant performance gains over the conventional method, especially in the high-rate regime, with little attendant increase in computational complexity.