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Summary form only given. Over the past several years there has been a great deal of renewed interest in multiple scattering systems with both absorption and gain. In the case of gain, laser action has been demonstrated in these systems and has resulted in a number of technological applications. More recently, the effect of amplification on the coherent backscattering signal has been observed. The case of scattering in the presence of absorption typifies most heterogeneous materials such as body tissue. In a recent set of experiments the termination of paths by absorption has been shown to affect the shape of the coherent backscattering cones. Furthermore, in the case of scattering gain media, the optical excitation source or pump experiences a scattering absorption process, which determines the gain value. Owing to the importance of this effect in both types of systems, we undertook a set of experimental measurements to study the effect of absorption on the light distribution within a scattering media. In particular, we performed experiments to quantitatively examine the light distribution in both the transition and diffusion regimes.