Police officers will now be able to tell if a person has used cocaine almost instantaneously with just a piece of paper and a fingerprint.

The paper which was developed by a team of researchers from the U.K. and The Netherlands can tell if someone has used the narcotic with 99 percent accuracy.

This procedure can be developed for other chemical materials too, and the team says it can be used as a highly accurate and safe method of running drug tests.

The team says that the paper uses a technique called “paper spray mass spectrometry” to detect the presence of chemicals in the fingerprint.

The technique facilitates detection of a particular substance by measurings the mass of its molecules. Hence, cocaine molecules, with their unique mass, can be detected by the paper. It can also detect the metabolites secreted by the body while processing cocaine.

The team of scientists from University of Surrey working with the Netherlands Forensic Institute and Intelligent Fingerprinting, published their findings in the journal Clinical Chemistry.

"It can detect cocaine and metabolites of which is further proof that cocaine has gone through the body and is excreted," said lead researcher Catia Costa, a researcher at the University of Surrey in the U.K., in an interview with CNBC.

The tests worked even after hands were washed because of this unique metabolite testing. Current tests take time and use samples like blood, urine or saliva. They are bio-hazards and the byproducts of such tests are tough to dispose. These papers provide an easy and safe alternative that is also much faster.

Dr Melanie Bailey of Surrey University said the non-invasive method of the process is a huge breakthrough.

This test is very accurate and cannot be faked. The identification process of an individual and their history of abuse can be recorded with the fingerprint data, proving the test to be an efficient database mechanism too.

The team tested 39 subjects, of which some were users and some were not. The test turned out to be 99 percent effective and the average test time was 30 seconds.

While most conventional lab tests take several hours or even days, this 30-second procedure could revolutionize existing security mechanisms to curb drug trafficking.

The procedure involves collecting the fingerprint on a triangular piece of paper. The paper is then placed on a mass spectrometer and a solvent is poured on it. When an electric charge is passed through the spectrometer, it can tell the different molecules present in the sample.

Researchers say that the method for detection of heroin has already been developed. They hope that they can develop this for a range of substances to make testing easy and efficient.

The test could see application in the health and security industry. Even in work places, drug testing can become faster. In overdose situations, this test can identify the material and save crucial time in administering life-saving treatment. Applications in law enforcement and security screenings can help keep potential drug trafficking in check.